Tonya Joann Simmons Bailey, 47, of Center, Texas, passed away on July 1, 2018 in Center. She was born on January 29, 1971 in Baytown, Texas to Odis Eugene Simmons and Lila Smith Simmons. A memorial celebration of life will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, July 7, 2018 at First Baptist Church in Center with Bro. J.C. Lewis and Bro. Grant Murphree officiating. There will be a reception immediately following the service at First Baptist Church. All are welcome to attend.
Tonya moved to Center when she was in 7th grade and graduated with the Center High School class of 1989. Tonya met Todd Bailey for the first time at Solley’s Club and then fate happened to bring them together once again in Benton, Louisiana at the Longhorn Club. They both realized it was meant to be and formed an unexplainable bond that would last 26 years. Todd and Tonya were married on October 24, 1992 at Center First Baptist Church and they cherished every second spent with one another over the next few decades.
Tonya was always driven and business minded. She began her career at Center Autoplex as a sales representative and finance manager. After a few years, another opportunity opened up for her, and she began working for M&M Insurance where she remained the rest of her career. She loved working with people and doing business. A piece of advice that she lived by and shared with fellow sales associates she was training was, “Don’t every speak first, because if you speak first, you lose.”
Tonya was a pillar in the community and devoted so much of her time to serving those around her. Her most notable accomplishment was building the legacy that is Bailey’s Pageants. She was even featured on TLC’s “Toddlers and Tiaras” multiple times during her career. She also was responsible for the production of local pageants such as Miss Shelby County, Watermelon Festival, Big Bass Splash, and the Little Miss Merry Christmas and Mr. Happy Holidays. She, along with her family, has been involved in pageants all her life. This was a way that Tonya enjoyed helping others find their inner and outer beauty and confidence. Lighting up the stage was fun but seeing a light shine bright within her pageant contestants was most rewarding for Tonya. She always went above and beyond what was expected of her in everything she set forth to do.
Tonya treasured each and every moment spent working with and directing the pageants, but the most precious moment of her life was the day her granddaughter, Landree Grace was born. Tonya loved spending as much time with Landree as she could and wanted to make sure she had the best of everything. In her free time, Tonya found time to read, shop with her nieces and travel. Her favorite places to visit were the beach and most especially, New Orleans.
Tonya radiated life everywhere she went. Her smile, her laugh and her love would brighten a room. She made a point to lift others up and to help them see their true value and worth. Her joy and passion for life overflowed onto all who were blessed to know her. Tonya was an inspiration to so many, especially during her battle with cancer. She fought valiantly every day with a smile. No matter how much pain she was in, she chose to live that day to its fullest. Tonya will be dearly missed, but her beautiful legacy will live on in the innumerable lives she has positively impacted over the years.
Tonya is survived by:
Her beloved husband of 25 years, Todd Bailey of Center
Son: James Tyler Bailey of Center
Granddaughter: Landree Grace Hagler of Center
Mother: Lila Akin and husband, Ron Skidmore of Center
Shelia Burch Kerns and husband, Jeff of Bowie, Maryland
Tammy Williams and husband, Jimbo of Hemphill
Mother-in-law: Yvonne Hull and husband, Gerald of Bridge City
Father-in-law: James A Bailey of Port Arthur
Sharene Bailey of Port Neches
Krista Bailey Clark of Lafayette, Louisiana
Brother-in-law: Vance Lachausse of Nederland
Grandfather-in-law: Jesse Howard Johnson of Jasper
Nieces and Nephews:
Kristie Hooks and husband, Michael
Anthony Burch and fiancé, Samantha
Ashley Simmons Newton and fiancé, Nick Hughes
Michelle Miller and husband, Joe
Jeremy Williams and wife, Brittany
Joshua Scully and wife, Courtney
Justin Scully and fiancé, Cara
Jacob Scully and wife, Lauren
Kaleb Clark and fiancé, Mackenzie
Great Nieces and Great Nephews:
Jacee, Lanie, Haley and Hunter Hooks
Mackenzie Simmons and Fisher Bright
Gabe and Scarlett Titman
Hannah, Piper and Eli Miller
Numerous other cousins, relatives and friends.
She is preceded in death by her fathers, Gene Simmons and Harry Akin; brother, Daniel Eugene Simmons; and her grandparents.
If you would like to make a donation in memory of Tonya, she requested they benefit her granddaughter, Landree Grace Hagler’s, future college education. There is a trust fund at Shelby Savings Bank where donations can be made.
Donations can also be made toward a scholarship being established at Center High School in memory of Tonya. For more information, you may contact Shelia Burch Kerns.
The family is being served by Mangum Funeral Home in Center, Texas. To send condolences or to sign an online register, please visit www.mangumfh.net