Marylyn Patton Bradley


A Ouija Board predicted Marylyn and I would be lovers. Marylyn and her girlfriends tested one's predictive powers in 1966 before she left for Hawaii. The Ouiji Board told her, her husband to be would be on Oahu when she visited and that his name started with the letters "Jo," but that she and he would not meet until after she returned home - exactly what happened.

January 1967 I returned to The University of Illinois to use the GI Bill to complete a degree. Having heard nothing but censored propa-ganda I was unprepared for political activism. Marylyn and her friends were immersed in the present. It's a good thing I had a car. Marylyn and her girlfriends used me for transportation since they didn't.

Marylyn and her friends also taught me the mystery of early morning tea at The Red Herring where Dan Fogelberg sang for free.

"Friends" was the operative word. Marylyn and I never actually dated until after my March 15th 1969 birthday when I broke up with my Cuban girlfriend.

Two-thirty Monday morning I called Marylyn at the University of Illinois. We made a date for the following weekend. Five month later she made me drive 300 miles to propose to her father. A few weeks later I took Marylyn home to meet my parents.

December 27, 1969 we married in Marylyn's Quincy, Illinois Church. It still being decorated for Christmas saved us a lot of money which was good since we had very little.


Mother Esther Bradley

My family

Best Men

Prenuptial Dinner

Maids of Honor

Marylyn won!

Marylyn wore her wedding dress to the hospital where Dad was a patient. We honeymooned in Urbana where Marylyn was a senior.

Marylyn Patton Bradley made it possible for me to soar. I say she's "The wind beneath my wings;" she says "I married you for entertainment."

We danced all night New Year's Eve at the Red Lion Pub - Marylyn in her red pajamas. We only had a single bed which wasn't a problem.

 

4+ Decades Together

Marylyn worked her way into Human Resources Management and bore the brunt as we raised a son (Eirean) and daughter (Katherine). We wore out two "kid-hauler" vans attending events, teaching Sunday school boy scouting, and dance lessons and so on. Kidney failure ended Marylyn's management career in 1999.

Marylyn spent more than a decade working part-time at Estrella Mountain Community College, mostly as Advisor to the Estrella Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. The Estrella Chapter scored in the top 10% of all 1,200 Chapters in terms of student achievements and awards more than ten years in a row. She made Estrella Mountain Community College famous.

All at Estrella was accomplished as her kidneys worsened into end-stage failure. Four O'clock Monday morning January 18, 2010 I was awake worrying about our kids when the phone rang. The number looked like that of Grandson Canaan so I picked up.

"This is Julie from Mayo Clinic, is this the home of Marylyn Bradley?" I answered in the affirmative. "May I please speak to her?" I took the phone to Marylyn. "A perfect match kidney is available. Can you be here within two hours?"

We arrived, I gave Marylyn a Betadine scrubbing, she put on a gown and was wheeled into surgery which lasted from 11:30am to 02:30pm when Dr. Mulligan walked over to say "The operation went well, the new kidney was working as we closed up and Mrs. Bradley is in recovery."

Marylyn was transported from Recovery to the Intensive Care Unit where she was hooked up to multi-wires and hoses that fed alarm equipped monitors showing squiggly lines and ominous numbers. I spent the next three days and nights in a chair next to her while a cheerful competent nurse checked in every few minutes.

Tuesday afternoon a Physical Therapist and Nurse helped Marylyn sit and standup and then walked with her four times around the unit which was interesting to watch given the many ways she was tethered to an electronic Christmas tree. A little later most wires and tubes were disconnected. Marylyn was transported down the hall to a new room also fully equipped with a cheerful nurse. Another all-nighter but this time we actually slept a little.

Wednesday we woke to learn health care reform was dead having been killed by a rich Massachusetts man who had his and didn't want to share. Drove home to get the house ready for Marylyn's return where I was assaulted by a John McCain funded robo-call from that selfish Massachusetts pig squealing how he was going to kill health care reform. Ever scream at a recorded message?

Wednesday afternoon I walked Marylyn on a leash, lots of patient education followed by too much real food for dinner. Almost free we both got some sleep.

Home Thursday afternoon in time to realize we forgot to stop at the Mayo Pharmacy to pick up "fast-acting insulin." Scrambling we got it here just in time for evening medications. Treatments nurses make look easy are actually very complicated and we totally blew our Friday morning mandatory routine. For the first time I realized it was going to take both of us, working as a team, for Marylyn to get well.

I contacted the Estrella Human Resources Manager to apply for Family Medical Leave and we returned to Mayo Clinic to meet the Transplant Manager responsible for Marylyn's case. Saturday we actually got the morning routine right plus my nurse sister Carolyn, and her super competent husband, arrived from Illinois to help.

Marylyn called to tell our son-in-law, "Now there's a chance I'll get to attend Lydia's high school graduation."

 

"Congratulations to our PTK students!"

Marylyn's students knew nothing about her crisis. April 12th, Estrella Mountain Community College's faculty and staff were greeted with an email with the subject line: "Congratulations to our PTK students!" Marylyn and her students had just returned from the Phi Theta Kappa International Convention in Orlando, Florida where they were victorious with an unheard of four Hallmark awards and a spot on the top 100 Chapter list for the tenth consecutive year.

At the 2010 Phi Theta Kappa International Convention Beta Alpha Xi received the Scholarship Hallmark honoring Kevin Riley, Anita Padilla and Jose Gonzales; Service Hallmark honoring Lucas Byrnes-Norton; Distinguished Chapter President award honoring Yvette Moller; and a Distinguished Chapter award, $900 to be used toward student scholarships.

Marylyn received personal recognition for having mentored Monica Grooms, Estrella's first-ever Phi Theta Kappa International Officer.

By fall 2009 Marylyn and I knew she was facing End Stage Renal Disease and her doctors had concluded dialysis would not work for her. We had come to terms with the fact that she only had a few months to live. "Marylyn and I notarized 'do not resuscitate' living wills, purchased a cemetery plot and ordered and etched our names and dates of birth on a gravestone."

Suddenly everything changed. "January 18th, while everyone was celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, we miraculously received the gift of life in the form of a new kidney for Marylyn."

Marylyn's Phi Theta Kappa students knew nothing of her condition.

"Imagine my surprise when I got the call that Marylyn was going into surgery and getting a transplant. I was dumbstruck! I didn't know she was that sick," said PTK President Yvette Moller. "If anything, this shows her dedication to our success as students. She never once places the students or PTK in second to her own personal health."

This is because during Marylyn's fight for life, she had changed nothing in her regular work routine. She still attended every meeting and answered every email, call, and text, almost instantly. Moller believes that Marylyn knew if her students would have known about her condition, they would not have focused to achieve the awards received. "I think she knew that we would have placed PTK on the backburner for her, and that is what she did not want."

"I have a missionary spirit to what PTK and community colleges can do in the life of a student. In many cases, this experience creates a turning point in the life of students," said Marylyn.

"God not only gave her a gift with that kidney, he gave a gift to everyone whose lives Marylyn will continue to affect in a positive way," said Yvette.

I, John Bradley, would be nothing without Marylyn Patton Bradley. Every good thing that has happened during our marriage can be attributed to her. She sacrificed her career so I could devote 80 plus hours per week pursuing my career.

She raised Eirean and Katherine, started our grandson Canaan and allowed two "throw-away" girls to live with us as they completed high school.

She encouraged me to quit rather than compromise when an unscrupulous boss demanded I do something illegal.

Most of all she's been my unconditional partner.
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