'He loved life and he lived it well and honestly'
If attendance at a man's memorial service is a measure of his life, Rod Bradley's measure will be overflowing on Nov. 19, his birthday.
Bradley, former head of Bradley Reid and Associates, the leading advertising firm in Anchorage for decades, died on Thursday. He was 67.
Numerous national, international and local awards, his client list, community service and the careers he launched testify to the quality of his work, which raised the standard of the trade here. His expertise and dedication to the Alaska tourism industry kept him working at the firm even after he'd sold it, because no one was better at it. You can read more details about his achievements at www.legacy.com/obituaries/adn.
John Tracy, who with Debbie Reinwand now owns Bradley Reid, said members of the firm toasted their mentor and friend and watched videos of some of his best work on Friday. But what Tracy and others remembered most about him was not so much what he did, but who he was.
Conn Murray, who gave Bradley his first Alaska ad job in 1969, recalled that Bradley "was sensitive to people, he had a great sense of humor. "Clients liked and respected him."
Tracy said Bradley's honesty and his genuine care were the keys to both a his good life and business success.
"I don't think there was a phony bone in his body," he said.
Reinwand, who was recruited to the firm 20 years ago by Bradley and then co-owner Connie Reid, said that she hopes everyone is fortunate enough to work with a leader like Bradley sometime in their lives. "It was like breathing for him," she said of his creative ideas. Yet "he never put on airs."
"He was always one of us."
She said he treated those who worked for him as colleagues. He would introduce them by saying "we work together," or "I work with her."
Reid, who worked with Bradley for her entire career beginning in the mid-80s, said that he combined professonialism with a great heart and forgiving nature. He was a man who looked for the best in people and brought it out, who by being who he was made the people around him better. That spirit gave him a wide and eclectic circle of friends, which made for a richer life.
"He carried that spirit with him so gracefully," she said. Even at the end, he was helping his family and friends deal with his dying.
"He loved life and he lived it well and honestly," she said.
Rod Bradley is an Alaskan who will be sorely missed. But another measure of a man's life is the sense of presence that he leaves behind. Tracy said Bradley continued to be a guiding hand at the agency even after he sold it, and that he expects he'll keep asking, "What would Rod do?" It's clear that Tracy won't be the only one who asks. That's a fine legacy.
Our condolences go to Rod Bradley's family and so many friends.