Robert Bradfield

Robert M. "Bob" Bradfield, a long-time Boulder resident who enjoyed good books, good conversation and good gin ("Three olives, please") in equal measure, died July 20, 2013 at Sunrise Assisted Living in Boulder after a long illness. He was 88. A graveside service will be held at 9:00 a.m., August 3, 2013 at Green Mountain Cemetery, 290 20th St., Boulder. A celebration of Bob's life will follow at 10:00 a.m. at University Lutheran Chapel, at the corner of Folsom & Colorado in Boulder. A reception will follow the service at the church. Bob was born Dec. 27, 1924 in Greeley, Colo., the son of Miles Davis Bradfield and Blanche Weidman Bradfield and the grandson of a master carpenter and cabinetmaker, some of whose woodworking talent he inherited. When he was 2, his family moved to Boulder where he attended Highland Elementary School, University Hill Junior High School and Boulder High School, graduating in 1942. He spent one year at the University of Colorado in Boulder before enlisting in the U.S. Army despite a significant hearing loss from a childhood case of measles that technically disqualified him from service. He was on active duty from 1943 to 1946 and was part of the campaign to liberate the Philippines. He received a battlefield appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, which he couldn't accept because of the hearing loss. After the war he returned to CU, and graduated with a degree in architectural engineering in 1950 while continuing to serve as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve through the early 1950s. Following graduation, he joined M.D. Bradfield Lumber Co., the business his father established after moving to Boulder in the 1920s, and remained with the company, which was later renamed Bradfield Building Products Center, until its sale in 1984. Bob married Betty Lynn Hensley on June 24, 1950 in Nacogdoches, Texas. She died in 2001 in Boulder. Bob was a devoted scholar of Colorado, military and particularly Civil War history, so much so in fact, that he and Betty spent part of their honeymoon touring Civil War battlegrounds. He was an active member of the Colorado Civil War Roundtable and an acknowledged expert on Civil War era music who shared his knowledge and enthusiasm with several generations of Boulder schoolchildren through creative classroom presentations for which he often donned appropriate period uniforms. After retiring in 1984, he reviewed military history books for the Rocky Mountain News for a number of years. He was a supporter of the annual Boulder Pow Wow in the 1950s and 1960s, and was active in the Boulder Historical Society. He served as a Boy Scout leader, volunteered along with Betty at Boulder Community Hospital, and was a 60-year member and former president of the Boulder Rotary Club, whose weekly bulletin he wrote and edited for several decades. During his years as a Rotarian, he and Betty opened their home to a succession of students from around the world who attended CU on Rotary scholarships, one of whom, upon learning of his death, wrote, "Bob was kind, considerate, and everything a Rotarian should be and rarely is." His commitment to Rotary's ideal of service above self cost him some sleep over the years. Bob frequently opened his lumber business to police and firefighters who needed plywood in the middle of the night to board up windows after accidents, fires or an onslaught of damaging Chinook winds. He and Betty were both supporters of the Boulder Humane Society and their home was filled with adopted cats and dogs including several rescued Afghan hounds and racing greyhounds. The last of the menagerie, a cat named Shaunta, accompanied him when he moved into assisted living. Bob was preceded in death by his wife; his parents; and a daughter-in-law, Lisa C. Bradfield of Waco, Texas. He is survived by a daughter, Nancy Valentine and her husband Jess of Erie, Colo.; son Richard Bradfield and grandson Robert C. Bradfield of Waco, Texas. Memorial contributions may be made to Boulder Rotary Club Foundation (BRCF), 5390 Manhattan Circle, Suite 101, Boulder, CO 80303-4282. Please share thoughts, memories and condolences at

Funeral Home

Green Mountain Cemetery
290 20th Street Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 444-5695

Published in The Daily Camera on July 31, 2013