Harvey Bradley, a British-born adventurer who built a business in York and repeatedly donated to area nonprofits, died June 8 in England. He was 85.
In 1972, the Dallastown man founded Bradley Lifting Corp., a manufacturer of lifting equipment, which grew to a 50-employee operation at 1030 Elm St. in York. He worked there for 36 years until April 2008, when he sold the company to Cincinnati-based Xtek Inc.
While he is remembered for being a great businessman and boss, he was also a philanthropist and world traveler, according to family and friends.
"The phrase that keeps coming to me is that he was a fair-minded man. He thought a lot about his community. He thought of his employees as more like a family than people laboring for us. And he loved traveling," said Win Bradley, his wife of 56 years.
Adventures: One day, after 40-some years of marriage, he told her it was time to visit the Falkland Islands, an archipelago 290 miles east from the coast of South America, she said.
"He said he wanted to go because, when he was a 10-year-old boy in England, a lady visited the class after coming from the Falkland Islands. And he said he always wanted to go there," she said.
That he was in his late 70s didn't stop him, she said.
And being 85 didn't stop him from traveling to Australia in January to see musical chimes.
"He never succumbed to his age. Age was not a barrier for him," she said.
The cancer that ultimately ended his life, and a quadruple bypass 15 years earlier, didn't seem to slow him down, his family said.
Harvey Bradley frequently took 5-mile walks around the family's 40-acre farm in Dallastown.
"He really enjoyed the farm. I think it was his refuge. He really enjoyed life," she said.
Her husband was also a jokester, frequently quoting limericks that left their friends in stitches, she said.
A legacy: That "cute, pithy sense of humor" will indeed be missed at the Agricultural and Industrial Museum, which Harvey Bradley helped create, according to Joan Mummert, president and CEO of the York County Heritage Trust.
The trust operates the museum, where Harvey Bradley donated a working mill, lifting equipment and other contributions.
"His fingerprints are all over the museum, and the legacy he left to the community is an opportunity to understand our pasts," she said.
The Bradleys also gave to Martin Library.
In October 2009, the couple was credited with saving the library's Sunday hours by donating enough money to cover those operating costs.
"He was very generous, very helpful," said Colin Bradley of his father.
Among the lessons he learned from his dad, integrity, honesty and kindness were among them, he said.
"He always said, 'Be good to your customers because if you're not, they won't come back.' He believed in treating them fairly, and he's someone who wouldn't pull a fast one," Colin Bradley said.
Those principles helped Harvey Bradley attract friends and business associates from all around the world, and he was also a respected boss, according to Sharon Wherley, a secretary at Bradley Lifting who worked with him for 19 years.
"He used to walk around at work and say hi to everybody. He made you feel like he knew who you were, like you were a person and not a number," she said.
He also liked to help people, she said.
"When anyone asked for help, he never said no. He probably helped everyone in this place at some point," she said.
Background: That generosity may have been inspired by his upbringing, Win Bradley said. She said both of them grew up "relatively poor" in England.
Upon becoming successful, "we did what we could to help others," she said.
And in between those acts of kindness, the couple traveled whenever possible.
"We had wonderful vacations to places like Antarctica, Costa Rica, Belize, you name it," she said.
His died during his last trip, which was to England, where he hoped to visit family, his wife said.
"I think he wanted to die on British soil, and he did," she said. "We had a good life. He had a good life. I don't see how there could possibly be any regrets."
Visitation will be held from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday at St. John Episcopal Church, 140 N. Beaver St., York., followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m. at the church. Interment will follow the service at Dallastown Union Cemetery.
In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by two daughters, Lorraine C. Bradley and her husband, Donald Bruss of Tacoma, Wash. and Heather J. Zinn of Dallastown; three grandchildren, Heidi K. Zinn, Katie E. "Kate" Zinn and Brendon J. Bradley; a brother, Robert Bradley of Yorkshire, England; two sisters, Mary Hindle of Lancashire, England, and Barbara Keddle of Yorkshire, England; and several nieces and nephews.
Harvey Bradley was preceded in death by his parents William J. and Elizabeth Mary (Denmark) Bradley, and a brother, John Bradley.
- Candy Woodall can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.