Viola M. “Tootie” Bayles

indexJuly 10, 1923 – September 8, 2017

Viola M. “Tootie” Bayles, 94, of Bloomington, died at 11:20 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 in her home at Luther Oaks. Her funeral is at 11 a.m. Thursday, at Trinity Lutheran Church, the Rev. Thomas Wirsing officiating. Burial will be in Park Hill Cemetery, Bloomington next to her beloved husband Darrel. Visitation is from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home, Bloomington and at the church one hour before Thursday’s service.

Mrs. Bayles, daughter of William and Clara Schwandt Wellenreiter, was born July 10, 1923, in Dry Grove Township. When she was 18, she saw a photo of Darrel Bayles in the newspaper and told her aunt that he was the man she planned to marry. She met him for the first time at the McLean County Fair in 1939.
Her prophecy came true when she married Darrel in a simple ceremony on Jan. 15, 1944, in Montgomery, Ala. as he was being deployed to Europe during WW II. After Darrel returned, their love expanded to include Greg and Connie, and the life they built was Tootie’s greatest treasure.

Her hardwork and housekeeping skills were legendary. Her windows sparkled, her lawn was manicured and she dusted every day. Tootie lived in the house Darrel built for 57 years. Her kids say she was one-of-a-kind; a devoted mother who warmly welcomed every friend they brought home. Homemade cookies were her specialty, and everyone who came to her house went to the cookie jar first. Whatever Tootie did, she did it 100 percent. She taught her family how to love, laugh and care deeply. She was a fun, athletic grandma, sledding and playing ball and card games like Old Maid with the grandkids and great grandkids. They described her as loving, loyal, disciplined, funny, caring and sometimes brutally honest. Tootie was an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan and an ISU Redbird basketball season ticket holder for over 30 years. She left her mark on her community too serving as a 4H leader, Sunday school treasurer, PTO member, and BroMenn volunteer and retired from Growmark. Tootie was a lifelong member of Trinity Lutheran Church.

She is survived by her son, Gregory R. Bayles, Normal and granddaughter Christine Fleming, her husband Aaron and their children Hillary, Cameron and Wyatt all of Gurnee, Ill; granddaughter Carrie Bayles and her son, Alister Reasbeck of Columbus, Ohio; and grandson Brandon Bayles and wife Falyn of Bradenton, Fla.
Mrs. Bayles is also survived by daughter Connie B. Cozzolino Smith, her husband Kelly of Hartland, Wis. and granddaughters Callie Cozzolino and husband Louis Greenebaum and their son Coz Greenebaum; and Layne Cozzolino and her husband Josh Stolzenburg and their son Penn Stolzenburg. Survivors also include one sister Lorene Wick, Verona, Mo; sister-in-law Eleanor Wellenreiter, Danvers; and brother-in-law Floyd Haag, Cullom.

The family wishes to thank Renee Payne for her loving care for Grandma as well as the staff of Luther Oaks and Compassus Hospice. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Trinity Lutheran Church Building Fund. Please view the obituary and share your condolences and memories online at

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