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R.J. Bailar

The life of Rev. Dr. R.J. Bailar has been one of extraordinary accomplishment as a pastor, counselor, soldier,  radio and TV host, and community leader.

Dr. Bailar served for 25 years as a congregational minister in South Florida. Before his ministerial career, he served as a World War II infantryman and CIA operative. During his media career, he interviewed Presidents Jack Kennedy and Richard Nixon; met with President Jimmy Carter and Pope John Paul II; and marched with the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Retiring to Jefferson County from Miami in 1991 with his wife, Friedl, he plunged into community affairs, bringing his considerable intellect and energy to scores of projects with an eye toward community betterment. 

His work has impacted many organizations including the Boy Scouts of America, Monticello Opera House, Main Street Monticello, the Chamber of Commerce, the Educational Foundation, the Legislative Committee, and the Historical Association. Additionally, he played a role in the development of the Economic Development Council, Emergency Management Center, Courthouse Annex, public library, and numerous other activities on behalf of the Jefferson County Commission.

In recognition of more than two decades of service to his adopted county, on January 6, 2011, the Board of County Commissioners named the public library the Jefferson County R.J. Bailar Public Library in a ceremony attended by state and local dignitaries and many appreciative residents.

Dr. Bailar passed away in 2019, but the library carries on his mission of public and community service.