The Jackson County community is mourning the loss of a long-time coach and teacher at East Central High School and Resurrection Catholic.
Former coach Terri Bailey died Thursday morning at the age of 57 following a battle with cancer.
Resurrection assistant football and softball coach Eric Denmark, who worked alongside Bailey for much of the last two decades, spoke Thursday about her warm approach as a teacher, coach and friend.
"I was blessed to teach right across the hall from her," Denmark said.
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When news began to spread around the RCS campus in Pascagoula, some of Bailey's students entered Denmark's classroom to check on him.
"They were over here comforting me," Denmark said. "Those are the values she passed on to her kids."
Bailey was at East Central for 28 years before she retired and joined the staff at Resurrection Catholic as a teacher and coach in 2011.
In addition to working as a science teacher, Bailey coached a variety of sports during her career, including basketball, softball and volleyball.
Legendary former Moss Point softball coach Brenda Lewis, who is now the head coach at RCS, recalled Thursday what it was like to compete against Bailey when she coached softball at East Central.
"She was a very fierce competitor. Her players fought to win every game," Lewis said. "She taught more than sport. She taught life lessons. She touched a lot of people's lives."
Lewis also showed a kindness to her players and friends away from the softball field.
Prior to the start of the 1992 softball season, Lewis was involved in a car accident that broke the femurs in both of her legs, landing her in the hospital in Ocean Springs.
"One Saturday, she walked in with her whole softball team," Lewis said of Bailey. "They all came to the hospital. She taught them more than just the game of softball. She was just a great person." Denmark is serving as the main caretaker for a family member who is battling cancer. Bailey was often the one giving him encouragement as he faced his own challenges.
"She knew what I was going through," Denmark said. "She would actually come lift my spirits, being a primary caregiver for my uncle. She was a great lady, a great mentor for ladies on and off the court." Counselors from Pascagoula High School joined those at RCS on Thursday to help Bailey's students deal with the loss.
"She left a mark here on Resurrection," Denmark said. "The impact she had on the kids was unbelievable."
A memorial service for Bailey is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday at Full Life Assembly of God Church in Hurley.