In Memory of

Walter (Walt) M. Bradford

September 22, 1929–February 7, 2020

Photo of Walter (Walt) M. Bradford

About Walter (Walt) M. Bradford

Portland/Salem – Walter (Walt) M. Bradford was born on September 22, 1929 to parents, Dorothy (Bishop) Bradford and Clarence E. Bradford in Portland, OR. He and his Brother Clarence (Brad) grew up and attended Rigler Elementary & high school in Portland. They lived with their mom and grandma Susie, who used to always tell the boys “now, now little man, calm down and I will help you all I can”. Walt shared great stories of times with his brother and their friends in the neighborhood, most would give you tears in your eyes laughing so hard, quite the high jinx. During the summers in their middle and high school years they stayed with their dad at the Oregon American Lumber Company in Vernonia, OR. They worked hard but had a lot of fun in the logging camp. After graduating from high school and working, he volunteered for the Army, was an Army Technician in Germany and was Honorably Discharged on April 5, 1948. After being discharged, he worked with his stepdad in his painting business, it didn’t take long for Walt to realize this wouldn’t be a lifelong profession for him. He became employed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District and attended evening courses at Northwestern College of Law, now known as Lewis & Clark Law School while water skiing on his beloved teak boat on weekends with friends on and around Lake Oswego. He eventually went to work in the Insurance business, where he became the Claims Manager in Oregon for Great Basin Insurance Company and where he met and became lifelong friends with George Keep. Together they became partners in their own Insurance Company, Bradford and Keep Insurance. During this time, he met and married Beverly (Halbach) Bradford, who worked for Crown Zellerbach Paper Mill. They had many an enjoyable time raising three children, Jason, Joseph and Jill Bradford, always had a home with a swimming pool, where the kids had great fun with their parents. They made their home in Gladstone.

Eventually, his business partner George went to work for the State of Oregon in Salem. After some time, George told Walt, come to Salem, and Walt went to work for the State of Oregon in Recovery Services as a Manager with Personal Injury Liens, Estate Administration and Motor Vehicle Accident Fund.

Walt, Bev and their children moved to West Salem for a time, where the children went to Meyer’s Elementary and Walker Middle School. Walt became a Baseball Coach for West Salem Little League and coached his Son’s Jason and Joe on their West Salem teams, supporting them in Pop Warner Football as well, along with Jill’s dance and track and field. The family moved back to Gladstone. Walt commuted from Gladstone to Salem. It was during this time that he met his future wife, Colleen (Rose) Bradford and Stepson, Jason Roan. Colleen also worked for the State of Oregon. Walt and Colleen had a wonderful 36 years together (married for 23 years). They made their home in South Salem and eventually West Salem (last 20 years) where Walt got a second chance at watching his stepson Jason play baseball for West Salem Little League, spending many a weekend having fun in their swimming pool with Jason and his friends, listening to yells of Marco-Polo, diving for dimes, going to the beach with their Chihuahuas all named after beer, Moosehead being the first. Walt retired from the State of Oregon after more than 20 years, staying busy, always building ponds, decks, tables for the decks and more decks and the famous Skyview Room (Bar) above the garage, where the kids & our friend Doug came over to watch Pac 12 Football, or having a scotch & soda playing his banjo to the Kingston Trio, listening to Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennet, Henry Mancini (Peter Gunn theme), Ray Anthony, having great conversations at the mailbox with the mailman and neighbors, or he was most happy sitting in the back yard, sometimes with the fire pit going, always having his Milwaukee’s Best Light at 32 degrees, listening to our CD’s, feeding the Bradford Chihuahua’s food they shouldn’t have.

Throughout his life he took care of his family with so much love, treated all people with kindness, dignity. People that he worked with, supervised, will tell you how much they loved working with him. He always took the time to listen, we would always go to him for advice as he was so wise. He just made everyone feel good and valued. He took such pride in his dress, from his button-down shirts, great looking ties, sport coats, slacks, suits, and always his shinning Florsheim shoes. But he also looked great in his weekend jeans and sweatshirts and a twinkle in his eye. He truly was the man that invented Moxie.

Walt was so lucky to have the best of medical care, people that made sure he was as healthy as he could be for all these years. His medical providers and surgeons were and are like family to us. Thank you to our medical family, Dr. Frederick Cook and Gina, Dr. Cynthia Harper and Rachel, Dr. Beth Dayton and Maline, Dr. William Stiles, Dr. Kai Engstad, Providence Home Health Nurses/Team, Gibson Creek Assisted Living team and words cannot ever express how grateful we are to Willamette Valley Hospice and our team that was with us through it all. You gave him such care, dignity and comfort and helped our family through the most difficult time. Also, to Miles Johnson, Johnson Funeral Home, your kindness will always be appreciated.

His family that will always remember and love him are his Wife, Colleen. Stepson, Jason. His first wife Beverly, Sons Jason and Joe, Daughter In-Law Hallie, grandchildren, Isla and Zach. Daughter Jill, husband Curtis, grandchildren, Amarisa and Matthew.

Wally wanted to be cremated and we both so loved the Oregon Coast, especially around Yaquina Light House, Boiler Bay. He loved looking out into the ocean and watch the waves, looking for ships, whales and who knew that they make beautiful bio-degradable urns so families such as ours can charter a boat this summer and send him on so many adventures out to sea, or maybe he will stay close to shore watching over all of us.

Fare thee well my love,