Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Warren Bradley
April 25, 1921-July 3, 2014
Former Gold Beach resident Dick went on his final flight July 3, 2014. He was 93 years old and died of natural causes in Central Point.
He was born April 25, 1921, in Pendleton, to Jesseye J. Bradley and Laura Kerley (Bradley). He graduated from Lincoln High School in Portland in 1940, and attended the University of Portland (UP) in the pre-engineering program.
In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Air Corps as an aviation Cadet Class 43B, and was sent to Florida for Martin B-26 transition training and assigned as a co-pilot for low level combat training to an active B-26 Marauder Bomber Group, the 322nd, 449th Squadron.
In May of 1943, Dick was sent to Bury St. Edmonds, England, where he flew 50 missions of low and medium altitude, including raids on German power stations and submarine pens at Ijmuiden, Holland, and the D-Day invasion.
His last mission was June 11, 1944, whereupon he returned to Portland to finish his education at the University of Portland. Dick joined the Oregon Army Air National Guard; about the same time, the Army Air Force became the U.S. Air Force. While at UP, he met and married Patricia H. Klein, who was a UP graduate in nursing and retired U.S. Army nurse, in November of 1947.
After receiving his bachelor of science degree in physics, he decided to activate his duty for the Korean War, flying the F-86 “Saber Jet.”
After the Korean War, Dick pursued graduate study in aeronautical engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology which resulted in a long career as a test pilot for the F-100 and F-104 series jets, which included flight test work in Japan with the F-104 in CAT III program with the newly formed Japanese self-defense program.
After 27 and a half years in the Air Force, Dick retired and relocated with the family to the Rogue Valley in August of 1969 and began converting military surplus aircraft to fire retardant tankers for Rosenbaum Aviation. Dick also flew and was director of operations for Mercy Flights Air Ambulance. In 1974, he was inducted as a Life Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP).
He and Patricia moved to Gold Beach and built a home in 1980. Shortly thereafter, Dick started up his own company, Rogue Air Freight, flying inland, up and down the coast and tackling the Rogue River Canyon, going to various lodges delivering goods and passengers.
Ten years after discontinuing his freight business, he decided to build two aircraft, an RV-4 and a Jabaru Calypso.
After Pat’s death, Dick relocated to the Rogue Valley in 2007. He continued flying until his 87th birthday in 2008.
Survivors include his son Stephen D. (Sheila Baker) Bradley of Eugene; daughters Theresa Leffmann of Eagle Point; Rebecca Bradley of Ashland; Susie Bradley of Medford. He is also survived by granddaughter Megan Leffmann of Newport Beach, California.
He was preceded in death by his wife Patricia in May 2001.
The family wishes to extend their heartfelt gratitude to all the wonderful caregivers from All Care, and Footsteps Foster Care.
A memorial service with military honors will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 15, at Eagle Point Veterans Cemetery, in Eagle Point.
Arrangements are through Rogue Valley Funeral Alternatives.
Submitted by the family.