Donald Finley Bailey, the son of Wylie and Gertrude Bailey, was born in 1897, in Syracuse, New York. By 1910, he was living on Eastern Avenue with his family. Donald was an exceptional tight-wire walker and a champion swimmer. Until he joined the United States Navy, he attended Schenectady High School.
Donald entered the United States Navy on March 31, 1917. He started his training at a Naval Aviation School in Pensacola, Florida, and after finishing a course, he was transported to Baltimore, Maryland, for additional instruction. He held the rank of Electrician Second Class, Radio and served with the First Aero Squadron. On June 8, 1917, Donald was among the first American aviators to land in France. After completing two flying programs in France, he received the French brevet. Donald finished his overseas service on January 23, 1919, and was headed home when he got sick with pneumonia. He passed away on March 5, 1919, in a hospital in Brooklyn, New York. He is buried in Vale Cemetery, Schenectady, New York.
Sources: The Schenectady Gazette, Find A Grave, Ancestry