Bailis was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1942. His parents were Rabi Yamlikha Shamun and Lapya Zkharia, both of the village of Ada, in Urmia, Iran. As a young boy, he attended the Assyrian School of Qasha Khando in Baghdad, then, Baghdad College, a high school conducted by the American Catholic Jesuits. After graduation, he entered the University of Baghdad, and after two years he had to interrupt his studies as the political conditions in the Country were deteriorating. In 1965 he migrated to the United States, and in 1968 graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Campbell University of North Carolina.
From a young age, Bailis has been passionate about the mother tongue. He has always believed that, under the prevailing conditions of the Assyrian Nation, retention of our language is the only means that could prevent assimilation and guarantee our survival as a distinct entity. Hence, he has made it a point to participate in, and support, any effort intended to promote or extend the life of this important element of our existence. For years he has taught the language in Chicago. He was a close friend of the late writer and composer Rabi William Daniel, and the two have worked together on linguistic and artistic projects. Bailis was one of the founders and the first secretary of the Assyrian Academic Society of Chicago, and one of the main contributors to its publication. The last 25 years have been diligently devoted to compiling an English-Assyrian-Arabic dictionary, a reference useful for the future of our language in these western societies.
For the last 42 years, Bailis has been married to Sylvia (née Abraham) of Chicago and has two sons, Bailis Malik and Ashurdan. The family currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.