Jean R. Bradley, age 91, died on January 19, 2022, at the Maplewood senior living community in Newtown. She was born Jean Ann Radel on July 4, 1930, to J. Louis Radel and Clara Lund Radel of Fairfield. A graduate of Smith College, Class of 1951, she married Edward G. Bradley, M.D., on October 11, 1952 and spent most of her adult life in Easton.
Jean loved the outdoors, and learned to ski with Ed while he was stationed in Munich, Germany in the early ’50s. They brought their love of the sport back to the States, and all four of her sons were on skis at an early age. Jean enjoyed the sunny south-facing slopes of Bromley Mountain in Peru, Vermont, where various members of the extended family spent many happy days; she and Ed had a vacation home in nearby Weston.
Jean loved to hike; not just a stroll in the woods, but tackling serious climbs like Mt. Washington and other peaks in New Hampshire’s Presidential Range while hiking hut to hut—likely reminiscent of the Bavarian Alps near Munich. She shared her love of the mountains with her boys, and summited Colorado’s 14,300-foot Uncompahgre Peak with Ed and their son Stephen in 1973.
Jean was also a lifelong swimmer and loved the water, sun and sand of the beach. Her affection no doubt began in the Radel family’s annual summer rental at Fairfield Beach. When the beach wasn’t an option, Jean swam laps at various outdoor and indoor pools over the years to maintain her form. Close to age 70, she competed in the Greenwich Point Mile Open Water swim, where swimmers are dropped by boat a mile offshore and need to make it back to the beach.
While Jean had many interests, including fine food and drink, her passion was music. In the late ’50s, she took up the cello with real gusto, her constant hard work and instruction making her a valued member of Fairfield County’s classical music community. She played with numerous full orchestras, chamber orchestras, quartets, and ensembles, including the Troupers Light Opera Company, and drew great pleasure from performing, which she continued well into her eighties. As much as the music itself, she enjoyed the deep and lasting friendships made through the community.
Jean also loved to travel. While Ed (who predeceased her on August 7, 2002) was alive, they took one or more exotic trips a year—Russia, Japan, Kenya, Italy, Alaska, and on and on. For Jean and Ed, it was more than simply seeing a different sight; they wanted to understand the culture and the people, so most of their trips had an educational component with one or more experts as guides.
Jean did a lot, but who was she? She was one of the kindest, gentlest, most polite people you could ever meet. Jean would not speak badly about anyone. Ever. She was not in a hurry and always took the time to engage with the people she encountered at the gas station, the farm stand, the bank, the receptionist desk, or anywhere else. Jean did not see race, religion, or ethnicity; she just saw individuals. For many years, patrons at the Fairfield Public Library got to experience that grace and warmth when Jean was working the circulation desk. She loved nature, and also volunteered at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport.
Survivors include a brother, Andrew A. Radel of Newport, RI; her sons Jonathan G. Bradley of Houston, TX, Andrew G. Bradley of Denver, CO, and Troncones, Mexico, Stephen G. Bradley of Melrose, MA, and Matthew R. Bradley of Newtown; four grandchildren; a nephew; a niece; and several cousins.
Memorial donations may be made to the Fairfield Public Library. “For…information about how to make a gift, funding priorities or the impact of charitable gifts to Fairfield Public Library, please contact the Fairfield Town Librarian Scott Jarzombek (203) 256-3158, firstname.lastname@example.org.”. https://fairfieldpubliclibrary.org/my-fpl/supporting-the-library/
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