Giants among us

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bradley, john

John Bradley’s passing is a reminder that there are giants among us, if we only look around.

Bradley, born on a Dover Township farm in 1925, died last Saturday at the age of 90.

Until Alzheimer’s afflicted him in his 80s, he was a man few could keep up with.

Bradley’s vision of what Chatham could be occupied his mind during his most productive time from the 1960’s through the next two plus decades.

Chatham Mazda from Chatham Voice on Vimeo.

Subdivisions, shopping centres, high rise apartment buildings, one of the finest resorts of its kind in central Canada, corporate headquarters; all were his hallmarks.

There was however, more than one John D. Bradley.

As he reached what would have been normal retirement age, he embarked on a philanthropic plan to provide the community with a sustaining fund from which money could be spent on worthwhile projects.

Having travelled extensively, he saw many other communities with charitable foundations and through his determination, persuasion and personal contacts; the Chatham-Kent Community Foundation was born.

 

The foundation currently has an endowment of more than $5 million and provides grants of several hundred thousand annually.

As much as Bradley accomplished, it was the manner in which he accomplished it that is also worth mentioning.

He could bring a board meeting back from the brink of chaos without raising his voice or banging the desk.

Longtime business associates say they can’t remember him swearing, an unusual characteristic for anyone, let alone someone used to the rough and tumble world of putting together seven or eight figure deals.

Although he wasn’t alone in his approach, any community could use more of his kind.

He has left a legacy that any of us would be well advised to follow.

It was a life well lived.

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