Joan Smith Bailey

Published 3:38 pm Monday, April 15, 2024

Joan Smith Bailey, 87, of Elizabethton, Tenn., passed away peacefully on Friday, April 12, 2024. 

Joan was an amazing example of faith, love, and joy, and her life was a ministry of teaching. She was respectfully known as Mrs. Bailey by her students and was fondly called JoJo by her grandchildren and loved ones who considered her a grandmother, mother, and friend. Joan was born in Heaton, N.C., to Cart and Flossie Turbyfill Smith. She graduated from Cranberry High School, obtained a Bachelor’s Degree from Johnson Bible College, and a Master’s Degree in English from East Tennessee State University. 

Mrs. Bailey retired from Carter County Schools as an English teacher at Hampton High School. Her educational designations included Career Ladder III Teacher and Teacher of the Year, and she was the recipient of the W.B. Greene, Jr. Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching. Loved and respected by her students and peers, she encouraged them to seek higher goals than many had ever dreamed. She continued to help students master their writing skills after high school and inspired many to become teachers, including her three daughters.

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Joan was a member of Valley Forge Christian Church. She loved being the minister’s wife, teaching Sunday School Classes, directing the choir, and coordinating Bible School. Additionally, she served as Dean of Junior 3 Week at Appalachian Christian Camp in Unicoi County, Tenn., and spoke at numerous ladies’ meetings and retreats.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband of 64 years, H. Clay Bailey; brothers, Charles Wayne Smith, Sam Smith and Richard Smith; and her sister, Hazel Clark.

Survivors include her three daughters and sons-in-law, Ricki and Jeff Dykes of Piney Flats, Jenni and Jeff Carowan of Lewisville, N.C., and Lori and Tim Shields of Elizabethton; her grandchildren, Kala and Matthew Jacques, Jordan Dykes, Andy and Morgan Carowan, Sam and Kristyn Carowan, Dr. Landon and Dr. Tara Shields and Dr. Christopher and Hanna Shields; her great-grandchildren, Cooper Shields, Killian Jacques, and Hattie Lemmon Shields; and her sisters, Brenda Brewer, Linda Smith and Donna Ward. 

A service to honor the life of Joan Bailey will be conducted at 1 p.m. Friday, April 19, in the Chapel of Peace at Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton, with Mr. Ken Overdorf, minister, and Dr. Landon Shields, eulogist. The family will receive friends in the funeral home chapel between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday, prior to the service. The service will be livestreamed and may be viewed at 1 p.m. Friday. Those wishing to view the livestream may visit and click on the obituary for Joan Smith Bailey.

The committal and entombment will follow at the Mausoleum of Hope at Happy Valley Memorial Park. Active pallbearers will be Kala Jacques, Jordan Dykes, Andy Carowan, Sam Carowan, Dr. Christopher Shields, Dr. Landon Shields and Dr. Jake Jenkins. Words of comfort can be shared with the family by visiting our website at

Tetrick Funeral Home of Elizabethton is honored to serve the family of Joan Smith Bailey. Office Phone (423) 542-2232; Obituary Line (423) 543-4917. 

May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet