Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bishop Bradford

Yesterday I attended the funeral of Gordon R. Bradford, my former Bishop and the father of my best friend , Karen Cooper.  It was such a sweet experience for me to be in the midst of the Bradford family and dear friends from the Riverside 4th Ward.  Just being in the building on Blaine Street was wonderful.  I wasn't feeling very emotional until I saw a picture of their home where I spent so much time.  Then all those wonderful memories and tender feelings just rushed back.

It was difficult for me to move to Riverside the summer I turned 16.  My family moved from Santa Rosa, in northern California and it was awful  leaving my friends at Montgomery High School, The Santa Rosa Stake and my best friend around the corner on Melita Rd.  Not to mention my adorable boyfriend who I'd just begun dating a few months earlier.  Heavy Sigh.

I had an interview with my new Bishop who happened to be Karen's father.  When I arrived at his office, I noticed a young girl, maybe age 11 or 12 playing outside.  After Bishop Bradford and I visited for awhile, he told me he had a daughter about my age and she was outside.  I was mortified, because I immediately thought of the girl I had seen earlier.  He walked me out and to my surprise a darling girl rode up on a 10 speed bike and it was Karen.  After he introduced us, he went back into his office and the first words Karen said to me were "There are no guys in this ward". Needless to say we hit it off immediately and have remained friends now for over 39 years.  Karen made all the difference in my transition from Santa Rosa to Riverside.  She was a true friend.  Although she was wrong.  There were lots of adorable boys in the Riverside 4th Ward! Months go by between our visits, but as soon as we are together it's like we've never been apart.

There aren't very many pictures of us together,but this is from Karen's wedding in November, 1974 when I was her Maid of Honor. On July 12, 1975, she was my Maid of Honor
I am so grateful for the wonderful example her father, Bishop Bradford, was for me as a young woman.  I am even more grateful as an adult to learn what a truly amazing man he was and to have known and loved him.  This is the obituary that was printed in the Press Enterprise, p.C16, on Sunday, March 27 (Karen's birthday).  It barely scratches the surface of his great life.  His funeral was amazing. 


KimLJohnson said...

My family was part of Riverside 4th Ward Way back in 1971–73, when I was junior e senior at Moreno Valley High.

In Mutual I was like a year behind Karen Bradford Cooper, also knew Connie & Sandy, but was best friends with Brian Bradford.

I've have been seeking a way to get Back in touch with the Bradfords.
Could you Lissa please pass on my info below to Karen &/o her Sibling(s) so they may share what info they're comfortable with?

Thanks a Million,
Kim L. Johnson
email: klawrencej@gmail.com
fone: 612.424.2082
Linkd-in: linkedin.com/in/moltensalts

JE Stewart said...

Bishop Gordon Richard Bradford, of Riverside 4th Ward, Mt Rubidoux Stake, Riverside, California. was my bishop when I first joined the church 19 Oct 1968. I sat up front in the chapel and made a bee-line for the nearby door at the end of Sacrament Meeting. He followed me outside and talked with me and made me feel comfortable and welcome. He also performed the civil marriage ceremony for us at the Congregational Church in Redlands, California. I will be forever grateful for his fine example of a righteous priesthood holder.