Cover photo for William Crane Bradley's Obituary
William Crane Bradley Profile Photo
1924 William 2023

William Crane Bradley

November 30, 1924 — September 9, 2023

Bill Bradley died peacefully, surrounded by family, on Sept 9, 2023, at 98. For 34 years Bill was a geology professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Many of his students, even non-geology majors, remember him as “….the best teacher I ever had”. Bill was born in 1925 to Josephine Crane Bradley and Harold C. Bradley, and grew up in Madison WI, the youngest of seven sons. Bill’s father was a professor of physiological chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, inspiring Bill and four of his brothers to become professors. World War II found Bill, just out of high school, joining his oldest brother at Camp Hale in Colorado as a ski troop instructor for the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. Later, as a Second Lieutenant in the 7th Armored Division, he fought at the Battle of the Bulge, for which he received the Silver Star for bravery. In 1947 Bill married Virginia Biart of Madison, WI. They had two daughters, Meredith and Cameron, and later divorced. In 1950, during his senior year at the University of Wisconsin, Bill contracted polio. After two years of rehab he regained the ability to walk, with the help of a metal leg brace and cane. Bill always saw the silver lining in this; polio made him ineligible for military service in Korea, for which he had been called up. In 1956 he earned his doctorate in geology from Stanford University, specializing in geomorphology, and began teaching at the University of Colorado - at that time a small teaching-oriented school. Bill was a dedicated teacher, and in 1981 the University awarded him the Boulder Faculty Assembly Teaching Award, based on student recommendations. From 1968 to 1972 he served as the Chairman of the Department of Geology. After Bill’s retirement from CU the Geological Society of America named him a recipient of the Distinguished Career Award for his contributions to geomorphology. In retirement he served as the field geologist on the Cloud Ridge Naturalists’ river rafting trips. In 1957 he met Alice Louise Babcock, via a letter of recommendation from his brother Ric; they married a year later and had two children, Melanie and Mark. The family spent most summers traveling the US as Bill pursued geological fieldwork. In addition, there were year-long sabbaticals to Austin TX, Adelaide Australia and Aberystwyth Wales. Second only to geology was Bill’s passion for conservation. In 2002, the Nature Conservancy honored him as the only person to have been a member continuously, since its founding in 1951. The Frasier Meadows Retirement Community benefited from his tireless recycling efforts. Bill is survived by his beloved wife, Louise (Weezie) and three children: Cameron Ray (Jim) of Nashville TN, Melanie Rohrbach (Richard) of Atlanta GA and Mark Bradley (Shelby Pawlina) of Boulder - as well as one brother, Ric Bradley of Colorado Springs. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Alex Ray (Caroline) of Austin TX, Nicholas Ray (Erminia) of Salt Lake City UT, Emery Shae Bradlina of Boulder CO, Claire Rohrbach of Chicago IL, and William Rohrbach of Atlanta GA. A celebration of life will be held Mon Oct 2, 2-4pm at Frasier Meadows. Contributions in Bill’s name may be made to Tru Community Care Hospice: 2594 Trailridge Dr E, Lafayette CO 80026 https://www.trucare.org/make-a-donation-to-tru/
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Monday, October 2, 2023

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Mountain time)

Frasier Meadows Retirement Community

350 Ponca Place, Boulder, CO 80303

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