Longtime Littleton resident Mary Bradford passed away peacefully at age 85 on July 13. Her community will gather to celebrate her life at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, at Littleton United Methodist Church, 5894 S. Datura St., Littleton.
During a …
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During a rich, active life, she touched hundreds of people through her ongoing role as a philanthropist and business owner, serving on boards, working with children and generously supporting organizations financially. Among them: Interfaith Community Services, Littleton Adventist Hospital, Town Hall Arts Center, South Suburban Parks and Recreation District Foundation, Buck Community Center, The Village for Early Childhood Development, Meals on Wheels, Arapahoe Santa Claus Shop, Littleton Public Schools, Humane Society of the South Platte Valley, Littleton Symphony, Western Welcome Week, the Littleton Calendar, Littleton YMCA, Littleton Leadership Retreat, Littleton United Methodist Church, Littleton Rotary (and its reading program at Centennial Elementary), and the Littleton-Bega (Australia) Sister City Association.
She is survived by: Mickey Kempf (Karen), Scott Kempf (Nim), Greg Kempf (Anne), Stephanie Stout, Jim Bradford, five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and sister Carol Herban. A daughter, Wendy, preceded her in death.
A transcript of a recorded interview with Littleton Museum volunteer Virginia Fraser shared some of Bradford's memories of her life.
Born in South Bend, Ind., she grew up on what she described as a “city farm,” where her family lived, but others did the farming. She rode a train to Central High School in South Bend, then studied interior decorating and painting at a private school.
Her first husband was Neil Kempf, and they had four children when the family moved to Colorado in 1959 for Kempf's job with Martin Marietta — and to be near National Jewish Hospital for son Scott, who had bronchial trouble.
The interview continues to tell about her 1979 second marriage to George “Brad” Bradford, whom she met when she was working at Colorado Wrecking, where he would come for cars and parts for his Bradford Auto Body. He was already involved in community activities and she quickly followed, as well as becoming involved in the operation of the business. She was a serious Broncos fan and enjoyed games with Brad, friends and family.
They moved into the historic brick Stephenson House on Bemis Street, which she had purchased before the marriage. After Brad's death, she continued to work at Bradford Auto Body with her son Mickey Kempf, who carries on the tradition of community involvement.
Each year, the Western Welcome Week board designates an honored citizen to be grand marshal of the parade, and she and Brad were grand marshals together and she was again honored later. She was named Littleton Independent Citizen of the year , an honor shared with Darlee Whiting, in 2000.
The South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce honored her in 2008 as the Brian Vogt Community Leader of the Year for her ongoing devotion to combining business and community interests, through sponsorships and personal involvement.
The family has suggested that in lieu of flowers, donations in Mary Bradford's name can be made to Interfaith Community Services, TLC Meals on Wheels or a charity of the donor's choice.
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