Retired Petty Officer First Class, Jeffie Lee Bradley, Sr., age 92, peacefully passed away Friday afternoon, May 2, 2014, at Crestview Rehabilitation Center.
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He was born a share-cropper in a small cabin nestled in the woods of Opp, Ala., and resided in Baker, Fla., on property he owned most of his adult life.
Jeff, as he was called, joined the CCC program at 17 years of age with only a sixth grade education. Less than two years later he enlisted in the Navy at 19 years of age and served in Africa during World War II. Upon his return from the War, he married the love of his life, Gracie Ellen, June 25, 1945. He and Gracie began raising a family and moved all over the country and the world while in the Navy. Jeff retired honorably after 21 ½ yrs of service as an aviation mechanic. He then began his second career as an automotive mechanic in Pensacola, Fla., where he specialized in Volkswagens for more than 10 years. Finally, in 1969, he returned to his property in Baker, Fla., where he built his family home. It was there that he enjoyed a third career as a crop and livestock farmer. Always a devoted family man, he instilled the value of an education, a strong work ethic and the importance of one's word to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Jeff, also, was an accomplished hunter and enjoyed teaching his respect for the outdoors.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Luther Lee Bradley and Ida Jane Bradley; his wife of 61 years, Gracie Ellen Bradley; his brother, James Bradley; and three sisters, Nell Yusko, Betty Doyal and Mary Powell.
Jeff is survived by two sons, Jeffie Lee Bradley, Jr. (wife, Jene), and Lonnie George Bradley (wife, Sheryl); a daughter, Connie Grecu (husband, Larry); a brother, Ray Bradley (wife, Anna); a sister, Grace Albright; two brothers-in-law, Ed Doyal and Buddy Powell; 11 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.
The family will host visitation at 6 p.m., on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, at Whitehurst Powell Funeral Home Chapel, Crestview, Fla. Funeral services will be held at the Chapel Thursday, May 8, 2014, at 9:30 a.m., Rev. Dennis Robinson officiating; burial ceremony to follow at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church cemetery, Baker, Fla. Pallbearers for the funeral will be Mr. Bradley's grandsons; Jeffie Lee Bradley, III, Jonathan Grecu, Brian Bradley, Richard Grecu, Wade Bradley, and Matthew Bradley.
Arrangements are entrusted to Whitehurst Powell Funeral Home in Crestview. Guest book and condolences are available online at www.whitehurstpowellfuneralhome.com.
Whitehurst Powell Funeral Home
436 West James Lee Boulevard Crestview, FL 32536
Published Online in Northwest Florida Daily News on May 7, 2014