Betty Bradley, wife of famous World War II Iwo Jima flag-raiser, dies

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by stg58, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Our greatest generation were the MEN who fought WW 2 but there many WOMEN who were a major force in forging the greatest country this world has known.
    Betty Bradley the wife of one of the famous flag-raisers from the World War II battle of Iwo Jima, and the mother of a best-selling author, a member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and a world-class canoe competitor — has died at age 89.
    Bradley was visiting a classmate and friend in New Hampshire when she had a massive stroke, said her son, Mark Bradley, a Wausau attorney and member of the Board of Regents.

    An Appleton native, Betty Bradley married her childhood sweetheart, John Bradley, who during World War II served as a Navy medic assigned to Marine Corps units. He was with five Marines on Feb. 23, 1945, and joined them as they raised the American flag atop Mount Suribachi, an action immortalized by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Joe Rosenthal.

    After the war, John and Betty Bradley settled in Antigo, where John Bradley opened the Bradley Funeral Home, and the couple raised eight children. John Bradley rarely spoke about his experiences in the war, but after his death, another son, James Bradley, wrote a best-seller called “Flags of Our Fathers,” which followed the six flag-raisers and told each of their stories. John Bradley never considered himself a hero, but a whole nation believes otherwise.

    Betty Bradley “was a hero, too,” Mark Bradley said.

    “But she was a hero in a different way. Here is a person who was the first one in her family to graduate from college,” he said. “She went to Lawrence University on a music scholarship and graduated with a degree in social work. She raised eight children after marrying her third-grade sweetheart. She was involved in school programs, volunteer work, all types of normal things.”

    But a natural curiosity, a passion for education and a drive to help others — not to mention her ability to make the most of her days — distinguished Betty Bradley.

    Her accomplishments include: organizing a hospice program for Langlade Hospital in Antigo; setting up, with her husband, a scholarship for Antigo High School students; and anonymously offering financial help to struggling University of Wisconsin Marathon County students.
    “She also was a fitness buff, teaching us all to eat well and take care of yourself,” Mark Bradley said.
    After John Bradley’s death, she began to work at the chiropractic office of her daughter, Barb Bradley, who competed on an international level in canoe races. Barb Bradley said her mother’s work at the clinic started when she invited her mother to accompany her on trips to professional conferences, which often included subjects of health and wellness.

    “I thought she would go shopping or something,” Barb Bradley said. Instead, her mother asked to attend the conferences, too. That experience led to Betty Bradley helping Barb’s patients incorporate healthy eating habits into their lives. She worked at the clinic from her mid-70s to about six months ago.

    “She was just a fantastic example,” Barb Bradley said. “She was vibrant and healthy and walked with a spring in her step.”

    When her doctor suggested that at age 80, Betty Bradley give up inline skating, the advice was taken ... “after a few years,” Barb Bradley said.

    When she died, Betty Bradley was visiting a friend, Bill DeLong. DeLong was an Appleton native, and the two met at their 70th class reunion in 2011.

    “My mother and Bill fell in love,” Barb said. “They started a very close relationship.”

    DeLong lived in Alton, N.H., and the two traveled back and forth to be with each other. The fact that Betty Bradley embraced a relationship late in her years was typical of her attitude toward life.

    “She was just very open-minded,” Barb Bradley said.

    Mark Bradley said he took comfort in the fact that his mother died quickly while “enjoying herself. ... She made it pretty clear she didn’t want to live half a life.”
  2. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    Great find ! Thanks for sharing this !
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