WATERVILLE - Ronald D. Bradford, our loving husband, father, and grandfather, and brother, passed peacefully surrounded by his family on June 26, 2014, at the Maine Veterans' Nursing Home in Augusta, after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Ron was born in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 12, 1942, to Lawrence and Mary Bradford. He grew up in a military family and lived throughout the United States and abroad. He graduated from high school in Massachusetts and entered the Army as a paratrooper and served two years in Korea. In 1962, he met Maryleen Beane, in Bangor, and on Oct. 6, 1962, he married the love of life at the Sacred Heart Church in Waterville. They were deployed to Japan where they shared many wonderful memories and their first child was born. They then moved to the Washington, D.C., area, where he worked in Russian Intelligence for the CIA. The Bradford's returned to the Waterville area where Ron was employed by Prudential Insurance. He served many families in Waterville for the next 13 years. Some of his fondest memories are of those families, clients, and the crazy bunch of guys in the office!
He then started his own landscaping business, the obsession of his life! He loved every flower, every bush, and appreciated a beautiful cut lawn. A beautiful stone wall would always catch his eye. Ron was a local skydiver and instructor and made over a 1,000 jumps! If you didn't see him disguised as Santa Claus or in a gorilla suit, he was landing at Old Orchard Beach. He was a fun father with his children and enjoyed everything they did. Whether it was skiing, skating, or skateboarding, Ron was doing it with them. In the earlier days, he enjoyed shopping at Marden's, having breakfast at the Open Hearth restaurant and several cups of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts, and ending up at Joe's Smoke shop to replenish his pipe tobacco. You may have also seen him riding in his "Volcedes," the Volvo with the Mercedes emblem heading to Marden's looking for a bargain. In his later years, Ron was a regular at McDonald's with some very cherished friends. Staff knew him as "the candy man." He cherished his property on Western Avenue up until the time he entered the nursing home in March 2014.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Maryleen; their daughter, Beth, and her husband, Keat Fong, of Brewster, N.Y., and their three children, Kristin, Nathan and Ryan; his son, Christopher, and his wife, Angela, of Kissimmee, Fla., and granddaughter Julianne Bradford, of Waterville; and son Erik and his wife, Wendy, of Waterville, and granddaughter Alexis Bradford, of Oakland. Also surviving are his sister, Judy Black, of Papillion, Neb.; and brother William Bradford and his wife, Pat, of Thousand Oaks, Calif.; and many nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank the nurses and caregiver's at the veterans' nursing home. There will be no visiting hours or funeral service. A celebration of life and memorial service will be held at a later date. Time and date to be announced. Cremation services are being arranged by Gallant Funeral Home in Waterville. Condolences may be expressed and the guest book signed at www.gallantfh.com.
Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us everyday. Unseen, unheard, but always near. Still loved, still missed.