J. Roderick Bradley, M.D., 91, passed away January 31 after living a life blessed with family, community, and many friends. Rod was born September 15, 1923 in Greensburg, KS, where he attended elementary through high school. Rod was a proud life-long Jayhawk. He attended the University of Kansas, was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity, joined the Navy V-12 program, was sent to Central College in Fayette, MO, and was accepted to KU Medical School. Aware that the Kiowa County Memorial Hospital was scheduled to open in Greensburg in 1950, Rod and Melvin Waldorf, a fellow medical school classmate, developed a medical partnership to return to doctor the community where Rod grew up. The Bradley/Waldorf Clinic was a place where residents of Greensburg, and surrounding towns, received the “small town” compassionate care that so many still talk about today. In a recent video, made for Rod’s 90th birthday celebration, another life-long Greensburg resident spoke of how Rod delivered her, and her children, and even though Rod hadn’t practiced in years, she still considered him her family doctor because “they just don’t make them like that any more.”
While in his residency at the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT, Rod met Shirley Robinson, who was in nurse’s training. Rod and Shirley married in 1950 and had 4 children. They made Greensburg their home with the exception of 4 years when Rod served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force at MacDill Air Force base in Tampa, FL. If Rod wasn’t doctoring the community, he was serving them in some other way. He and Shirley were valiant volunteers in many capacities. Rod served as Chairman of the Board for the Iroquois Center for Human Development for twenty years, and was instrumental in organizing the center in 1969. He was chairman of the Greensburg Recreation Commission, served on the Kansas Blue-Cross Board, the Kansas Medical Society Board, the Farm Bureau Mediserve Board, and the Kiowa County Memorial Hospital Board. He was a Greensburg Rotary Past President, and an Assistant Clinical Professor with the University of Kansas Medical Center Preceptorship program for 38 years. Rod estimated that about 200 students completed preceptorships in his Greensburg practice. He was a member of the Iroquois Medical Society, the Kansas Medical Society, the American Medical Society, and a Charter Member of the American Academy of Family Practice Board. In 1988 Dr. Bradley received the Faculty Education Award from the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, honoring him for 35 years of service in educating medical students in family and community medicine, and the “Marion Vernon Outstanding Volunteer of the Year” award in 1991 from the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas.
Rod and Shirley were United Methodist Church lay leaders, Sunday school teachers, and choir members. Rod had a beautiful tenor voice and sang in many quartets and groups. Even at 91, “Doc,” as he was known to many at Tallgrass Creek, his most recent residence, was the song leader for all birthday celebrations. Rod had a love for music in general and a fondness for dancing. He and Shirley mastered ballroom dancing and shared their skill by teaching the local high school students and many others. Rod and Shirley also were members of the church bell choir and enjoyed many vacations with their bell choir friends.
After retiring in 1992, Rod and Shirley supplemented their community involvement with travel and family visits. In 2007, an EF5 tornado devastated the town of Greensburg. Rod and Shirley survived, but their home did not. They moved to Kansas City to be with family, but never left their friendships behind. Rod is preceded in death by his parents, Buena and Jim Bradley, sister Joan Bowman, brother Gene Bradley, and grandson, Joseph James Bradley. He is survived by his wife, Shirley, Overland Park, sister, Rose Miller (Gary) daughters Karen Cook (Fred), McKinney, Texas and Shari Kinney (David), Norman, Oklahoma, sons Scott Bradley (Juliette), Stilwell, Kansas, and Doug Bradley (Barbara), Colorado Springs, Colorado, granddaughters Becky Bradley and Kelli Smith (Ryan), grandsons Connor Kidd (Julie), Ryan Bradley, Austin Bradley (Kelsey), Christian Bradley, great-grandchildren Taryn, Henley, and Colton, and many nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, February 7th, 2015 at the First United Methodist Church in Greensburg at 4:00 p.m. with Pastor Terry Mayhew officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Iroquois Center for Human Development and the Twilight Theatre, Greensburg, Kansas, in care of Fleener Funeral Home, 514 S. Main St., Greensburg, Kansas 67054.