MARION -- Robert D. Bradley, 88, passed away at 11:05 a.m. Sunday, May 5, 2013, at his home.
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Robert D. Bradley was born Aug. 4, 1924, in Effingham, to Esther and Arnold Bradley. While in school, he took the last name of his stepfather, Earl Burnett, and used his own middle name Donald and was known as Don Burnett. After his high school graduation, he joined the U.S. Navy and served on the tanker ship USS Platt in the South Pacific until World War II ended. He was active as an ensign in the Navy Reserve until 1959. When the war ended, Bob returned to Vandalia, and then enrolled at SIU. He graduated in 1949 with a degree in business admini-stration.
While at SIU, he met the love of his life, Barbara Jean Rodd. They were married Aug. 28, 1949, in Aldersgate Church on South Market in Marion. Their reception was at the 907 N. Market St., home of the bride's parents, Leonard and Kate Rodd.
Bob's professional life included working in real estate and insurance along with his father-in-law, Leonard Rodd, and brother-in-law, Dee Rodd. In 1972, Bob founded Bob Bradley Insurance that later became The Insurance House, which today is owned by his son, Clay. Bob believed that work was important and there was no time for his retirement. He continued to work in business until two weeks before his death for a total of 64 years. Bob was known as the man with a firm handshake along with his suit and tie.
Outside of his business work, Bob spent many hours working with the Boy Scouts, Methodist Youth Fellowship and the senior citizens of First United Methodist Church, where he was an active member. He drove the church van for many years each Sunday morning.
Bob was very community minded and innovative. It was his idea to create the Lion Club Honors Day Award at Marion High School. Bob organized and initiated the first graduation spree at MHS. He also organized the first golf tournament, "The Closed Open," as a fund-raising event for Hearts Helping Hearts in which only former open heart patients partici-pated. Bob started Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award and Lifetime Achievement Award to honor citizens who had made a difference in our community. Later, the chamber recognized Bob for his many contributions by naming him in 1981 as Citizen of the Year, hon-oring him at the Mayor's Breakfast in 1997, and awarding him in 1998 with Lifetime Achievement Award. Bob was known to be a willing helper behind the scenes as well as helping the less fortunate in a way that left their pride and dignity intact. In fact, most of those he helped never were aware who their benefactor had been. That was exactly the way Bob preferred it.
Bob had a variety of interests which included his flowers and yard, his white-flocked Christmas tree in his front window, his "Aunt Maude" sayings projected on his garage door, deep frying for all who visited his Lake of Egypt lake home (after all, he had been the chief cook on the U.S. Naval tanker ship USS Platt), water skiing (even at age 75 in the same South Pacific waters that he had served the military), and running nightly with his son, Doug. Family came first and included each of his three grandchildren's many school functions and sports.
Bob leaves behind his wife of 64 years, Barbara; his two sons, Douglas R. Bradley and wife, Lareva, and Clay A. Bradley and wife, Andrea; two grandsons, Andrew W. Bradley and Robert J. Bradley of Marion; and granddaughter, Natalie Bradley Winn and husband, Ryan, of Brentwood, Tenn. Survivors also include two half brothers Charles Burnett and wife, Charlotte, of Naples, Fla., and Danny Burnett of Glen Carbon; brother-in-law Rodger Rodd and wife, Beth, of Marion; sister-in-law, Geri Robbins and husband, Chet, of Davenport, Iowa; sister-in-law, Sidney Minner of Lexington, Ky.; and nieces and nephews, Patricia Dockery and Mike of Arlington Heights, Richard Robbins and Bridget of Omaha, Neb., Robin Pankey and Robert of Marion, Jim Rodd and Tamra of St. Petersburg, Fla., Bill Rodd and Carla of Atlanta, Kim Rodd Holmes and Gary of Creal Springs, Chris Minner and Carol of Lewisville, N.C., Kate Minner of Carey, N.C., Glen Burnett of Washington, D.C., and David Burnett of New York City.
His brother-in-law, Dee L. Rodd and wife, Ruth; and brother-in-law, Don Min-ner preceded him in death.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 11, in Mitchell-Hughes Funeral Home with the Rev. Victor Long officiating. Military rites will be presented by Marion VFW Post 1301, American Legion Post 147 and members of National Guard Detail Unit. Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home.
For those who prefer memorials may be made to First United Methodist of Marion, Hospice of Southern Illinois and to the Greater St. Louis Chapter of American Parkinson Disease Association. Envelopes will be available and accepted at Mitchell Hughes Funeral Home at 800 N. Market St. in Marion.
For additional informa-tion or to sign the guest memorial register, visit www.hughesfuneralhomes.com.
Published in The Southern Illinoisan from May 6 to May 10, 2013