Bill Bradley Jr.
Bill Bradley Jr

Bill Bradley Jr., 66, passed away on July 29 at his home in Birmingham, Michigan, surrounded by his wife of 39 years Cathy and children Billy and Sarah. Big Bill, aka "Big B," was the rock of his family and, as his five siblings will tell you, "always mom's favorite."

Bill loved, in no particular order: the Detroit Tigers, his granddaughters Anna and Leah, a medium rare ribeye (just shine a flashlight over it!), giving people driving directions even though they'll be using Google Maps, sailing on Lake Michigan, extremely hot and salty French fries, waking up very early for Billy and Sarah's various skiing/running/triathlon races, and—last but certainly not least—an ice cold Beefeater martini extra dry with an olive. Or, as he called it, a "Tooni."

Born in Detroit on October 15, 1954, Bill was a proud Detroiter. His father, Bill Sr., was a Detroit Firefighter and his mother, Betty, wrangled six children in a two-bedroom home. He spent his early years on the city's West Side and attended St. Suzanne's grade school before moving to the East Side where he graduated from Denby High. After 10 years of night school at Wayne State, he graduated in 1983.

He spent the majority of his adult life working in telecommunications and information technology in the Metro Detroit area before starting his own business in 1994. He moved to Traverse City in 1995 and ran BCS Networks until 2007. He and Cathy moved to Chicago, where they lived in Old Town for 10 years before moving back to Michigan.

Big Bill was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in July of 2018 and fought like hell. When he first got sick, he continued riding his bike to appointments at Beaumont (which amused—and confused—everyone he encountered inside the hospital). As his illness progressed, he remained strong, tough, and a total pain in the neck. His family and friends are grateful for all of the meals and memories they packed into three years.

He went peacefully and in no pain.

Bill is survived by his wife Cathy; his son Billy III and his partner Alex Beggs of Ann Arbor; his daughter Sarah Mooney and her husband Ryan of Traverse City; two grandchildren Anna and Leah Mooney; his mother Betty; five siblings (Gale, Grace, Kelly, Michael, and Tommy); and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Bill Sr.

For years, on Opening Day, Bill would point out older, ailing fans in wheelchairs and tell his family, "That better be me someday!" On a sunny, cloudless day in late May 2021 he attended his final Tiger game. He got his wish. To quote him: "they wheeled my ass into the stands." Miggy hit a sacrifice fly, Jonathan Schoop hit a homer to deep left center, and the Tigers beat the Yankees 6-1.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to TART Trails, the local non-profit that maintains the many trails around Traverse City that Bill loved to ride. The family will host a celebration of life, more details to come.

Published by Detroit Free Press & The Detroit News from Aug. 1 to Aug. 3, 2021.
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13 Entries
What a beautiful tribute! May all those memories comfort you, Cathy, and your family. I remember the year we all did the Michigander together. Fun times!
Barb Acker
August 31, 2021
Prayers for the Family
Richard Burchfield
August 8, 2021
Cathy, Billy and Sarah...what memories we have of the days of Meadowbrook, the Cub Scout outings and the backyard gatherings just to call out a few. We are so sorry to hear Big Bill lost his battle...but, sounds like he sure gave it all he had. We remember him being a big guy that lived large...which surely translates to many funny & wonderful memories. Please, know that we are thinking of you during this sad time with love.
Lisa and Thom DaSilva and family
August 6, 2021
So sorry to hear about Bill´s passing. I so enjoyed visiting him and Cathy in Traverse City and sailing. I´ve known Bill since 1980, when we worked together as Account Executives back in the day. His smile and laughter was so contagious. My condolences to the family. RIP Bill!
Marlee King
August 5, 2021
Thinking of you Kathy and family. God Bless.
Kevin Shook
August 5, 2021
Cathy, I´m so sorry to learn of Bill´s passing. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.
Paula Sagala
August 4, 2021
We are sorry to hear of Bill's illness and passing. We had so many great times together supporting the cross country ski team - cheering in frigid weather, fundraising and celebrating at fabulous parent parties hosted by the Bradleys. Thanks to Bill, the "Fireman's Pasta" was always amazing. Love & Peace, Lew and Ginny
Virginia Coulter
August 2, 2021
I am really sorry to hear about billy . I know it is a great loss to all of his family . I wish I knew what to say to all of you to make it better but unfortunately there are no words that can heal the loss that you are feeling . When I first heard about it I was just sitting and thinking about all the times I got to spend with him over the years past Christmases in Detroit summers in kentucky I have a lot of fond memories of him and his family . Billy was a grand father a father and as the man he was he would want all of us to remember the good man he was cherish all the good times we had with him and keep fighting the good fight just as he did . I´m not going to say good by , I will say till we meet again because I believe I will see billy again . God bless and be with your wife kids grandkids your mother brothers and sisters and help them all through this time of grief . Till we meet again Bill . Gods speed .
Jack Beck
August 1, 2021
So many memories.. so many Tiger games.. so many openers Gonna miss ya, Big B
Melanie Hollman
August 1, 2021
I absolutely loved this obituary! What an amazing tribute. While I didn´t know Bill, I do know his daughter, Sarah, as I´ve had the opportunity to be her principal for the past six years. She is incredibly hard working, dedicated, a true team player, and one of the most professional educators I´ve had a chance to know. Her dad and family have much to be proud of.
Kirsten Jones-Morgan
August 1, 2021
Dear Bill, Thank you for bringing so much joy to my little sis's life. Please enjoy the ball games with Bill Sr, Ed, & Tom!
Sister Sal
August 1, 2021
We send our condolences to the family. I sounds like Bill had a life well lived . May his family be blessed by the wonderful memories they share with each other. From : Friends of Kelly & Dave Reno and his mother Betty at Betmar Estates, Zephyrhills, Fl.
Maureen & Wayne Nareau
August 1, 2021
You were one beautiful brother. We had some great memories. I will cherish them until we meet again. I love you with all my Your big sis.
Your Big Sis
August 1, 2021
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