Madison A. Bailey Jr., 84, Portsmouth

Portsmouth police chief from 1981 to 1994


Madison A. Bailey Jr., 84, of Bath, N.H., formerly of Portsmouth, R.I., passed away on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. Madison, known to many of his friends as Beetle, was born on Dec. 23, 1936 in Concord, N.H. to the late Madison and Bessie (La Bonty) Bailey. He was the husband of F. Lynn (Hathaway) Bailey for the past 63 years.

Madison moved to Newport, R.I. as a teenager and attended Rogers High School. After a short stint in the Navy, he spent his career in law enforcement, starting with his appointment to the Portsmouth Police force in 1967. 

He was promoted up the ranks quickly, being appointed to deputy chief in 1970 and to chief in 1981, a position he held until his retirement in 1994. During his many years as a police officer, he continued his education, graduating with a degree in criminal justice from Salve Regina in 1973. The next year he had the unique distinction of being the first officer from the area to attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. 

He earned many distinctions throughout his career including the FBI firearms expert award for saving the life of a child. A pinnacle of his career was his service as the chief of both the R.I. Police Chiefs Association as well as the New England Police Chiefs Association. He also served for many years as the chief of security for Newport Jai Alai.

Madison met his wife Lynn at Rogers High School and they married in 1958. He had an adventurous personal life that included hunting, fishing, boating, scuba diving, earning his private pilot’s license, and competitive downhill ski racing. He enjoyed racing with his ski team until illness sidelined him in 2020.

Madison is preceded in death by his son Alan M. Bailey. He is survived by his wife Lynn and his children Terri-Lynn and her husband Mark Thayer of Portsmouth, R.I. and Eric Bailey and his wife Dawn of New Hampshire. He leaves grandchildren, Adam Thayer and wife Katherine Loffredo, Erica (Thayer) Iorio and husband Matthew Iorio, Peyton Bailey and Allison Bailey. He also leaves great grandchildren Ethan and Emma Iorio.

Visiting hours will be held Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, from 4-7 p.m. at Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport, R.I. Funeral service and burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123, or by visiting

For additional information and online tribute please visit

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.