I miss Alice, Jim and our Mother and Father.
Born March 15, 1941 on a farm near Kankakee, Illinois John was fifth of six children born to Howard and Esther Bradley. Kids actually did walk a mile and half to and from one-room country schools. Eight Bradley's lived in an old two story house with one indoor toilet and bath. Parents slept downstairs. Later a second toilet was installed upstairs where kids played and slept.
There was clear division of labor.
As a boy John spent most of his time outdoors making repairs and sure livestock were fed and watered. At age five he kept a Caterpillar tractor running in a straight line while men walked behind throwing corn into a wagon. By eight he had his own tractor pulling wagons of feed and water to cattle and hogs, tilling land, harvesting crops of corn, oats and beans and mowing hay and taking care of chickens. Dad and Jim milked about 70 cows twice a day, raised about 500 hogs each year and supervised tillage, planting and harvesting on the Limestone Farm, Homestead and later on the Essex Farm. About 1948 an open shower was installed in the basement so men could shower before ascending stairs to be with family. Not sure what mother or sisters did but sure it was relentless, backbreaking and detail oriented.
Graduating from Herscher High School in 1959 John was memorialized in the Yearbook for having "A vocabulary far suppressing his elders"; NOT a compliment. With a scholarship he left for The University of Illinois in 59 to "flunk out" in 62. Out of options, John joined the Navy in 63 and among other deployments was at Charlie Med Field Hospital near Da Nang, Vietnam from June to December 65. Honorably discharged in 67 John used the GI Bill to complete a Bachelor's Degree at The University of Illinois. That's where he met Marylyn Patton Bradley, his lifelong soulmate. Being married students was fun and they ended up earning three degrees each.
Marylyn managing the hard jobs of raising son Eirean, daughter Katherine and grandchildren while working as a Registered Dietitian, Human Resources Manager and finally as Phi Theta Kappa Advisor. This freed John to chase career advancement opportunities. John's favorite explanations of their relationship were "I wouldn't have accomplished anything without Marylyn" and "I haven't paid a bill in 50 years".
Both were activists. Marylyn was always chosen to help manage church affairs while John was Scoutmaster, Confirmation Teacher and Youth Group Advisor. While Marylyn attended meetings John was often out on field trips, lock-ins and week long Boy Scout and Church camps where everyone played hard and slept in tents, cabins and on random floors. At 70 years of age John gave up youth ministry to help maintain the St. Peter's Episcopal Church and Montessori School grounds. Scoutmaster for years his Troop 401 Leadership Team met monthly until the 2020 pandemic made it impossible for "geezers" to safely meet in person.
Marylyn received multiple Phi Theta Kappa Awards taking Estrella Mountain Community College to never before attained heights.
John's greatest professional accomplishment was cofounding the Maricopa Community Colleges' Organizational Management Program. This "Flexible" program lets student take whatever job trainiing courses they wanted then capped their vocational training with leadership and management skills. Thousands of students used this freedom to transform their unique talents into college certificates and degrees. John was Arizona Vocational Educator of the Year.
John's final 22 years were as Residential Faculty at Estrella Mountain Community College. There he created an Internet Home Page to post the courses he taught and a Career Development Program that helped thousands of students choose careers and create a plan to "Make dreams come true". The John Bradley Scholarship was established for "Outstanding contribution to advancing the mission of the Maricopa Community Colleges".
Lucky to have enjoyed the privilege of living with smarter than him Marylyn, son Eirean, daughter Katherine, granddaughter Lydia and grandsons Canaan and Deven.
Mother Esther passed away in 1971, Father Howard in 1985, Brother Jim in 2006 and Sister Alice (Lambert) in 2021. Sisters Susan (Schreifer), Carolyn (Brinkman) and Ruth (Johnson) are still with us.