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Carolyn Louise Bradford

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Carolyn Louise Bradford peacefully passed away at 81 years young after battling lung cancer that was diagnosed earlier this year. She lived an extraordinary life with her husband, Bruce. They were married on June 7, 1961, at West Point Chapel. Carolyn spent the first 20 years of their marriage as a military wife: moving many times, raising two daughters and enduring the hardship of physical separations when Bruce was stationed overseas with tours in Central America and Southeast Asia.

Carolyn’s professional life spanned 50 years, from her start at a small clothing boutique in Kansas, to California, where she first worked at Saks Fifth Avenue in Monterey, then transitioned to the luxury Joseph Magnin chain, where she served as store manager, first in Carmel and then in San Francisco. She was soon promoted to regional manager, overseeing 13 stores in the Bay Area. The couple returned to Southeastern Ohio after Bruce retired in 1981. Having conquered the fashion industry with her energy, style and smarts, Carolyn next entered the banking sector, where she started at a small branch of Bank One in Athens, Ohio. She later worked for Bank One in Columbus, where she made a name for herself ensuring compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act. After retiring from Bank One, she worked at Home National Bank in Racine, Ohio. After leaving Racine, she started her own consulting business: Bradford Executive Solutions. This latest endeavor led her to assist in shoring up several banks that were at risk of failure during the turbulent banking times that started in 2008. Before her final retirement, Carolyn was appointed by the governor of Ohio to serve in the Department of Commerce as Superintendent, Division of Financial Institutions.

The thing that mattered most to Carolyn was family. She was very close to and fiercely protective of her two daughters, Dana and Leslie. She was known as Grandma not just to Laura and Will Murphy and Patrick and Kelsey Foley, but also to many of their friends. Carolyn hosted “Camp Grandma” for all the cousins every summer at Cherry Ridge. It is rumored that she refused to clean fingerprints left by the grandchildren on the sliding glass doors until they returned for their next visit. Patrick and his wife, Hannah, told Carolyn that they are expecting her first great-grandchild in February. She was so excited to hear the news. The family has so many fond memories of so many special times shared together throughout the years — most recently, a Bavarian Inn vacation in 2021 to celebrate Bruce and Carolyn’s 60th wedding anniversary and a Mother’s Day/Kentucky Derby weekend in the North Carolina mountains in 2022.   

In recent years, Bruce and Carolyn enjoyed long walks around Yellow Springs, gourmet dinners and nice wines. New York was her favorite city, and they took frequent trips to explore new neighborhoods, Michelin restaurants and Broadway shows.

May she rest in peace.

The family is extremely grateful for the care and compassion provided by Hospice of Dayton. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, consider making a gift to this wonderful organization. A Celebration Of Life will take place on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, from 2–4 p.m., at Schlientz & Moore Funeral Home, 1632 Wayne Ave., Dayton, OH 45410.


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