Mary Jane Bayless


Mary Jane Bayless died peacefully at home on May 16, after a lengthy fight with cancer. Patricia Quinones, who was like a daughter to her, was by her side.

Bayless was the quintessential California girl, born in Los Angeles on Feb. 7, 1927 to Laura (Portor) and Earnest Smith. Waiting at home was her 7-year-old sister, Elizabeth.

Bayless spent her youth in Los Angeles, and during this time, she developed a love for horses. In 1941 she got her first horse, a pure Arabian show horse she named Prince. He was her pride and joy.

Her career started as a stenographer for the FBI in 1951. After leaving in 1954 she started working in the mailroom at Disney Studios answering fan letters. Moving up in the ranks, she was secretary to Vice President Marvin Davis, a relative to Walt Disney. Later she became actor Fess Parker’s secretary. They became close friends over the years and she would visit him at his winery.

After her marriage to William Hambley, she gave birth to an only son, Craig Steven, in 1956. In 1971, she moved to Glendale after marrying Robert Bayless, a well-known Glendale businessman. Her passion for traveling led her to enroll at Pasadena City College in the early ’70s to become a travel agent. Having traveled to more than 100 countries with Bob, she had a wealth of information and contacts to better serve her clients. For the past 19 years, Montrose Travel was the recipient of her talents, right up until the end of her life.

She moved to Malibu about 10 years ago to the dream house she and Bob had painstakingly built after researching antebellum mansions. Simple things mattered to her-picking roses in her garden, whale watching, shopping with friends. In her later years she lost her mother, sister, husband and only son. While she had no blood relatives, her friends were her family and she counted them as one of her greatest blessings.

Services took place May 21 at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.