Jane Bradley
1955 - 2020
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(News story) Jane Bradley, a University of Toledo English professor and an author of well-received novels and short stories who also taught writing at women's shelters, died Sept. 20 at ProMedica Toledo Hospital. She was 65.

Her family hasn't yet learned the cause of death, her daughter, Susan Falco, said.

Ms. Bradley had been in ill health for about two years.

She arrived at UT in 1990 after teaching at Syracuse University and Virginia Tech.

A former UT director of creative writing, Ms. Bradley in 2013 received an outstanding researcher award from the university. She previously was named a master teacher. She received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo.

"She had a loyal following of students who really didn't have support from family or anywhere else," her daughter said. "She tried to steer them on the same path she had found for herself."

Her 1989 short story collection, Power Lines and Other Stories -- her daughter's favorite - was deemed "notable" by the New York Times Book Review.

Ms. Bradley's 2011 novel, You Believers, based on the story of a former Toledo woman who was kidnapped and murdered, received wide attention. Several publications placed the book on their "best of 2011" lists.

"She was proud of You Believers," her daughter said.

Claudia Jane Bradley was born Aug. 23, 1955, in Chattanooga, Tenn., and she spoke publicly of growing up in poverty, in a drug-dealing household, of being alone when her mother was incarcerated. Her book, Living Doll, though a novel, is largely autobiographical.

"It was very hard for me to read as a daughter," Ms. Falco said. "She had an unspeakably horrible childhood. She wrote it as a way to heal, as a way to to process those memories and move on and as a way to support others, especially other women who had survived similar experiences - a way of saying this doesn't have to define you, you can define yourself, you can make a different life for yourself."

Ms. Bradley led writing groups at women's shelters in Toledo. She spoke of her young years.

"I told them how writing saved me," Ms. Bradley told The Blade in 1999 as she led a writing group at the Aurora House. "I'm of the belief that with every honest word we write about ourselves, we gain a larger claim on ourselves."

Yet imaginative writing allows the writer to step outside herself. "And in the process of doing that, they learn what they want, what they fear, what they dream. It's kind of a sneak-up approach," Ms. Bradley said in 1999.

A third-grade teacher first recognized Ms. Bradley's talent, she told a UT publication in 2011. She received a bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, a master's degree from Syracuse University, and a master of fine arts degree from Vermont College. She studied transcendental meditation in India with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Physical fitness, gardening, and cooking were favorite pastimes. The more difficult the recipe, the more she wanted to try it, Ms. Falco said.

"She grew up idolizing Shirley Temple. Even when she struggling emotionally, she sparkled and made jokes and kept it light and funny," her daughter said.

Ms. Bradley was formerly married to Edward Falco.

Surviving are her daughter, Susan Falco; brother, Ben Biggs, and sister, Toni Walker.

Arrangements are by Cremation Society of Toledo.

The family suggests tributes to the CUE Center for Missing Persons, Wilmington, N.C.

This is a news story by Mark Zaborney. Contact him at mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.
Published in The Blade on Oct. 7, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
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4 entries
January 27, 2021
I first met Jane in 1974 thru her late Sister, Roxanne, my former wife. She had just Graduated from Un. Tenn., She was always "Sparkley" and energetic. She lived with us briefly in Atlanta and we became close. I helped her with some research on her sister for an upcoming book she wanted to write. I don't know if she ever completed this work, and had lost contact with her several years ago . I was really shocked to her of her passing today and she really will be missed.
Lee B. Stickles
Family
October 13, 2020
Good bye to a beautiful soul
Marie-Helene
Friend
October 8, 2020
What a glorious human being. To be in the same room with her you would instantly feel her radiance.
Joe
Family
October 7, 2020
Jane was my instructor for creative writing at UT. I am hard pressed to think of another professor from whom I learned more. She knew her craft and was quite skilled at it, and she had a gift for imparting her wisdom to her students. It's been twenty years, but her teaching remains fresh in my mind. My condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues.
Matt Malohn
Student
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