Midland loses former county commissioner Bradley

Jim Bradley
Jim Bradley

Midland lost a long-time community leader on Friday, Feb. 17 when James “Jim” T. Bradley, 86, passed away.

Following retirement from The Dow Chemical Co. as a manager in code systems, Bradley gave back to his community by representing the citizens of the 6th District of Midland County as a commissioner from 1992 to 2012.

“I had the privilege of working with Jim for almost 20 years. Because of his long tenure as a commissioner, he was a great resource of historical information and I often went to him asking for details about events prior to my employment,” County Administrator/Controller Bridgette Gransden said. “The thing I appreciated the most about Jim was his desire to streamline county process as much as possible. He was instrumental in moving the board in that direction.”

Bradley’s years on the county board included various terms as chairman as he helped steer the county through the emotionally charged process of building a new jail, along with the tax appeals of The Dow Chemical Co., Dow Corning Corp., Midland Cogeneration Venture and Consumers Energy.

“My condolences to the Bradley family. I served with Jim as a commissioner for probably three or four years and he was always helpful to me. He taught me a lot. He was a great guy,” said Midland County Board of Commissioners Chair Mark Bone, who began serving on the board in 2009. “I learned a lot from him as chairman and what to do. I appreciate the service that he gave us.”

Bradley attended St. Brigid Catholic School until the eighth grade, then moved on to Midland High, when it was at the present location of what is now the Central Park Elementary School.

Even though he had a 38 year career at Dow, Bradley’s original dream was a career in broadcasting. Instead, his Dow career saw him working in the telecommunications department and managing the company’s computer services department.

“It was my life’s ambition to be a radio announcer,” Bradley said in a November 1995 interview with the Daily News. “...If I were reincarnated, I guess I’d like to come back as J.P. McCarthy.”

Besides his long tenure as a county commissioner, the lifelong Midland resident served as a special deputy for Midland County Sheriff Department along with being a member of the Midland County and City of Midland parks and recreation commissions. Bradley was very involved with the planning and acquisition of the Pere Marquette Rail-Trail. He served as president of the Exchange Club of Midland, vice president for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and always enjoyed a round of golf where he developed many friendships and fond memories.

Bradley is survived by his children, Mary Kay (Mike) Larsen, Greg Bradley and Mike (Terri) Bradley; grandchildren, Jason, Bradley, Brian Bradley, Jackie Buchovecky, Kati Gonzales, Eric Larsen, Chad Larsen, Kyler Bradley and Dylan Bradley; and great-grandchildren, Morgan Bradley, Audrey Bradley, Nathan Bradley, Griffin Gonzales, Gabby Gonzales, Ashlyn Larsen, Jaden Larsen, Brooklyn Larsen, Cameron Larsen and Dylan Larsen. He is also survived by his brother, Joseph “Chuck” (Jan) Bradley.

“I enjoyed listening to him talk about his kids ... there was never a question of how proud he was of each of them ... or how much he enjoyed spending time with them on the golf course or at sporting events. He will be very much missed,” Gransden said.

A funeral liturgy service will take place at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Blessed Sacrament with Fr. Jack Johnson officiating. Visitation will be at Smith-Miner Funeral Home today from 4-7 p.m. with a vigil service at 6:30 p.m. Burial will take place at New Calvary Cemetery.

Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the Toni & Trish House or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.