Campbell Washington Bradley
Life Of C.W. Bradley
C.W. Bradley was born in Trenton, Tennessee on January 14, 1922. His parents were the late James Elton and Addie Lou Bradley. He was married to Roberta Brandon Bradley in 1945. To him and Roberta were born three daughters, Louan, Susan and Patti, and a son James Brandon.
He was baptized into Christ by John P. Lewis in 1935.
He was a graduate of both David Lipscomb University in Nashville and Harding University in Searcy, AR. He also attended Syracuse University, in Syracuse, New York. He also was graduated from Harding Graduate School of Religion with a M.A. degree in New Testament in 1970. Four years later he was awarded Outstanding Alumnus of the Year from Harding Graduate School of Religion.
C.W. Bradley began preaching in Hickman County, Tennessee in 1942. He later moved to Syracuse, N.Y. in 1944 and worked with the church there. In 1945 he moved to North Carolina and preached for the next eighteen years, working in the cities of Rockingham (1946-1950), Statesville (Broad Street church from 1951-1957), and in Winston-Salem (Broad Street church from 1957-1963). While in the Carolinas he wrote articles for the Carolina Christian Magazine, helped establish Carolina Bible Camp, and spoke on the radio for eleven years.
In 1963 the Bradleys moved to Memphis, Tennessee where they would spend the rest of their lives. He preached for the Whitehaven church until 1970, then for the Wooddale Church of Christ from 1970 to 1984.
It was during this time at Wooddale that he was thrust onto the national front when rock-n-roll superstar, Elvis Presley, died. As Presley's father Vernon was a member at Wooddale, it fell the duty of C.W. Bradley to preach Elvis' funeral.
During the funeral he spoke of Elvis's love for his family. He expressed that the superstar was a "frail human being." He also expressed that Elvis would be the first to admit his weakness. Perhaps because of his rapid rise to fame and fortune he was thrown into temptations that some never experience. Elvis would not want anyone to think that he had no flaws or faults. But now that he's gone, I find it more helpful to remember his good qualities, and I hope you do too."
In 1984, C.W. Bradley began working with the Olive Branch church of Christ in Olive Branch, Mississippi, just out of Memphis. He worked there until he retired from preaching in 1996. He continued to preach on lectureships, in meetings and other special occasions. The Bradleys placed their membership with the Germantown Church where they stayed for the rest of their time here on earth. C.W. Bradley preached the gospel for over sixty years.
He was much loved and respected by those who knew him. Roberta preceded him in death only a few months on January 3, 2005. He later passed from this life August 18, 2005. Visitation and the funeral took place at the Germantown Church of Christ. Jim Bill McInteer and Dave Phillips officiated during the memorial service. Then his body was laid to rest next to that of his wife in the Memorial Park-Southwoods, in south Memphis, Tennessee, to await the coming of the Lord.
A scholarship was set up at the Harding University Graduate School of Religion in the honor of C.W. and Roberta Bradley. Much good was done in their lives, and only eternity knows the extent of how their kindness and Christian faithfulness touched this world.
-Sources: Various websites including Harding Graduate School Of Religion, Preachers of Today, Volumes 1-5; Presley funeral information from http://www.thunderstruck.org/elvis.htm; etc.
C.W. Bradley, beloved former minister for this church passed from this life last Thursday evening at the age of 83. His life as a Gospel Preacher spanned six decades and four states, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi. He preached for the Whitehaven congregation and then by several years at the Olive Branch church. In recent times C.W. has taught at Freed-Hardeman University and has maintained a full schedule of speaking for Gospel Meetings.
C.W. was preceded in death by his wife, Roberta, who passed away just seven months ago. He is remembered by many who heard him preach, were baptized by him and considered him as a trusted friend. My in-laws have known the Bradley's for almost fifty years going back to his ministry in my mother-in-law's hometown of Rockingham, NC. He is survived by his daughter, of Boliver, TN, Patti, of Colorado and a son, Jimmy, of Winston-Salem, NC.
Funeral services were conducted Monday morning at the Germantown Church of Christ by David Phillips and Jim Bill McInteer, who eloquently reminded those present of the wonderful love and devotion that characterized this Godly man. Smith Howell, Sr., led the assembly in a prayers of thanksgiving for C.W., Roberta and their family. As David said upon learning of Abner's death many years ago, "a prince and a great man has fallen in Israel" (2 Sam. 3:28).
I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn't know C.W. Bradley. I saw him as a respected leader in our community. In my teen and college years I had the opportunity to know him personally through his close association with my future in-laws.
As a college student on one occasion I stopped by his office and asked him what advice he would give to a beginning preacher like myself. Without hesitation he looked at me with those piercing eyes and said, "Steve, love the brethren, If you love them they will love you." In twenty-five+ years I believe that's the best advice I've ever had. The love C.W. had for the church was evident. Nothing was more important to him than the unity and growth of God's kingdom.
During the years I was preaching in Arkansas and Tennessee, C.W. was a constant source of encouragement. Whenever we would meet he would always take time to inquire about my family and share a word of admonition. When I came to Goodman Oaks several years ago he called to say how glad he was I had come here. Since that occasion he has never ceased to be an encourager of our work among this church.
At the memorial service a quartet comprised of Leon Sanderson, Jim Chester, Michael Seymore and Greg Foster sang, "The Lord Has Been Mindful of Me," written by L.O. Sanderson, who for many years worked alongside C.W. at Wooddale. C.W. had said it was the one songthat he thought described his life better than any other.
I couldn't help but think how God has been mindful of me by allowing me to know and be mentored by such a great gospel preacher as C.W. Bradley, and by allowing me to work with a church filled with such wonderful people as you. . . "around the Oaks."
-By Steve Reeves, minister of the Goodman Oaks Church of Christ. The article appeared in Around The Oaks, a publication of that church. Vol. XXXIII, No. 34, August 23, 2005.
Directions To Grave
C.W. Bradley was buried in Memphis, Tennessee in a fairly new cemetery, Memorial Park South Woods. It is located at 5485 Hacks Cross Road, Memphis, TN 38125. Take I-240 to Nonconnah Parkway and go east 5 miles to Hack's Cross Rd. Exit. At the exit turn right (South) about 2 1/2 miles. The road will narrow to two lanes. You will pass a pet cemetery on your right. Very soon you will come to Memorial Park South Woods Cemetery. Turn into the entrance and bear to the left past the office. Then as you bear around the section on your right you will turn left between the Annesdale Section and The Chapel Hill Section. Proceed to the top of the hill and turn right. Go to the left of the Belvedere sign and go above 15 rows toward the side street. The grave will be near the side street. Each section has a little silver round plate with the number of the section. When I was there in January, 2002 there was still no permanent marker in place. While visiting the grave of C.W. Bradley be sure to visit the grave of another gospel preacher, I.Y. Rice, Jr. buried very near in the same section.