Donald W. Bailey, an enterprising businessman who left the corporate world to start his own company filming events and producing videos for the Sacramento Kings, NASA and other major clients, died June 9 of lung cancer, his family said. He was 74.
Mr. Bailey settled in Sacramento as a manager for Xerox Corp. in 1979. Within two years, he pursued a longtime dream and began filming weddings on the side and working on in-house training films for Xerox.
“I remember when I was a kid in Baltimore,” he told The Sacramento Bee in 1996. “Rather than play stickball in the alley with the other kids, I would go set up some boxes and get paper towel tubes and pretend I was broadcasting the game.”
Mr. Bailey left Xerox to devote himself to his company, Pulsar Video Productions. He filmed fashion shows, university lectures and corporate speakers, including a 1985 meeting with a keynote address by former Kings owner Greg Lukenbill. Afterward, he approached Lukenbill and won a deal to provide the official Kings film for every home game, including highlights that were broadcast on ESPN.
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He also won a long-term contract with NASA to providing video production support for research, training and promotional videos. In addition, Pulsar filmed events and produced training videos for many private and government clients, including Hyatt Hotels, Paramount Pictures, the Sacramento County Public Works Agency, the Alameda County public defender’s office and East Bay Municipal Utility District.
“He was very hardworking,” his daughter Danine Diew said. “He was all about not giving up and working hard and making sure you made your own way in this world. We all had paper routes or jobs from a very young age. That’s how we were raised.”
Born Aug. 16, 1939, in Baltimore, Mr. Bailey learned about hard work from his father, a commercial painter, and his mother, who was a caterer and school cafeteria supervisor. He also got a harsh lesson about racial discrimination as an African American youngster in the South that he shared with his own children.
“When we were growing up, we were never allowed to shop at May Co.,” Diew said, “because when he was a Cub Scout, the only place that sold the uniforms was May Co., but they didn’t allow blacks to shop in their stores. So when his mother took him down there, they were met by armed guards and escorted through the store, and they had to buy the first uniform he touched. He never forgot how humiliating that was for him.”
Mr. Bailey joined the Navy in 1958 as an airplane electrician and worked aboard aircraft carriers as a sea-air rescue crewman and copilot. He left the Navy after eight years and joined Xerox, rose to management and transferred to Stockton in 1973. He took video production courses and earned a business degree from Pepperdine University.
A Citrus Heights resident, he was active in the American Legion, the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce and Sacramento Urban League. After his daughter Dawna Bailey Gibbs was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia, he volunteered and served on the board of the Sacramento Blood Bank. Gibbs, an actress and former producer at KFBK radio, died of sickle-cell anemia in 1991.
In addition to Diew, Mr. Bailey is survived by his wife of 52 years, Yvonne; another daughter, Denise; and three grandchildren.
A service was held June 16. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to UC Davis Hospice.