Jerome K. “Jerry” Bradford
Jerome K. “Jerry” Bradford, 80, of Williamsburg, VA, passed away Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at home. Jerry was born July 17, 1937 in Philipsburg, PA, the son of Robert and Anna Mae (Dixon) Bradford. He grew up in Clearfield County, PA and was a 1955 graduate of Cooper Township High School, Lanse, PA where he played baseball, participated in the drama club, chorus and the marching band.
Jerry loved spending time with family and friends. He enjoyed attending football games at Penn State, and following Shepherd University football where his son Rob played. Boating, camping, fishing, skiing, playing softball, eating blue crabs, playing the piano and singing or just visiting with family were among the activities he relished.
He was very proud of his family. He married the love of his life, Elsie Lorayne Johnson, in 1960 and they were blessed with four children; Keith, Susan, Robert, and Nicholas. He had five grandchildren ranging in age from 6-28 years. He found no greater pleasure than following his granddaughter and grandsons in their various exploits and activities and celebrating all their achievements. He loved his 4 nieces and nephew as if they were his own. He taught his own children that they could do anything, the value of hard work, the importance of family, that every person should be treated with respect, how to drive a manual transmission car, change a tire, and fillet a fish. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and uncle to his family and a friend to many. He played an integral part in many young people’s lives, encouraging and challenging them to reach their potential. He will be missed deeply and loved eternally.
Jerry led an illustrious life. He played piano in Jerry’s Notes, a band that he formed with his brother and best friend, Edward. Later, he added ragtime piano to his repertoire, teaching himself how to play in that genre after the movie “The Sting” popularized the Scott Joplin song, “The Entertainer.” If he saw a piano in the house, Jerry would sit down and start playing songs like “The Peacherine Rag”, “The Maple Leaf Rag”, “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?”, and “Limehouse Blues”. His love of music continued throughout his life. Even at the end of life, he enjoyed listening and singing along to Johnny Cash and John Fogerty, and entertained his family with stories of seeing Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles in his younger days.
Jerry attended Juniata College for a short time, later attending Penn State University where he graduated in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in education (at which time he and Elsie had 3 children). He achieved a Masters degree at Western Maryland College in 1973, and engaged in additional doctoral studies.
It is no surprise that Jerry became a lifelong educator. He was employed as a teacher and guidance counselor by the Montgomery County Public Schools (Maryland), starting out as a junior high school teacher and retiring as a guidance counselor in 1995. Along the way he had various jobs and experiences both before and during teaching – truck driver, dragline operator, store clerk, contractor, snow plow driver, salesman, and race car driver. Yes, race car driver. Jerry drove under the pseudonym of Hacky Renoe because his mother thought Jerry was only the mechanic. He also started his own company, Bradford Maintenance Service, Inc., engaged in new construction, remodeling, and commercial building maintenance.
He was a very active member of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg, MD, Zion Methodist Church in Seaford and Yorkminster Presbyterian Church in Yorktown. He taught Sunday School for the high school age students and led the senior youth group for years in Gaithersburg.
Jerry was a 32nd degree Mason and member of the Pentalpha Masonic Lodge #194 of Gaithersburg, MD. He served as the Worshipful Master in 1985. He was also the Past Worthy Patron of the Order of the Eastern Star #39 of Gaithersburg. He was a member of the Germantown, MD Lions Club.
As a proud Penn Stater, Jerry was a Life Member of the Penn State Alumni Club and a lifelong Nittany Lion football fan. He held season tickets to home games for 30 years.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Elsie; three children; Jerome Keith Bradford II of Centralia, WA, Susan B. Tarley and husband John of Williamsburg, Nicholas M. Bradford and wife Jill of Tampa, FL; daughter-in-law Kimberly Bradford of Apopka, FL; 5 grandchildren, John B. Tarley and wife Thais Oliveira of Brasilia, Brazil, Erika S. Tarley and friend Gabriel Appel-Kraut of Chicago, IL; Zachary R. Bradford of Apopka, and Alexander and Nathan Bradford of Tampa; sister-in law, Anne Marie Witherow, brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Edward and Carol Johnson, sister-in-law, Betty Jane Bradford and many other friends and family. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, brother Edward, sister-in-law Marcella Bradford, son Robert, and daughter-in-law Jane Wong.
Honoring Mr. Bradford’s wishes there will be no public visitation.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held on July 21 at 11:00 am at Yorkminster Presbyterian Church 6218 George Washington Memorial Highway, Grafton, VA 23692.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Yorkminster Presbyterian Church or Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 3637 Main St., Karthaus, PA 16845.
The family wishes to express their appreciation for the many fine medical professionals at Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group, Sentara Hospital, and Heartland Hospice who treated Jerry during his illness. Amory Funeral Home of Yorktown is in charge of the arrangements.