Our beloved James Louis Bradford was born on Saturday, March 29, 1952, in Tippo, Mississippi, to his Loving parents, Mr. Jessie and Mattie Lou Bradford, both deceased. James was the fifth child of 17 children and was baptized at an early age. In his younger years, he attended True Bible Way Church with his parents and siblings. As an adult, he attended Antioch Missionary Baptist Church and joined on March 15, 2009, under the leadership of Rev. Michael Williams. After being invited to an Easter program by little Shadrach M. Carter, he then followed his wife Mrs. Sherry Bradford to Saint Luke God in Christ under the leadership of Superintendent Pastor Shadrach Smith. After Superintendent Pastor Smith passed on, he was under the leadership of Pastor Terry D Sanders where he remained until his untimely death.
James entered the workforce at the age of 15. He ran home one day and told his mother that he just couldn't take it anymore. His mother asked him "son what's wrong with you?" he answered saying "mama I'm not going back". She stated, "back where?", he said "to that school". She looked up at him and said "son, well what are you going to do?". He said "mama, I'm gonna work". She answered him by saying "son, okay if that's what you want to do". James never needed to ask his father nor mother for anything. He helped his family. Which he still loved to do, and his siblings enjoy helping him.
Everyone was eager to know his story about him becoming blind at Envision. These were James' words: he had been awarded employee of the month where they did a write-up on his life. He stated that he was born and raised in Mississippi. He began working on a farm driving a hauling semi truck for the same farmer (Bill Farmer). He continued to toil on the farm until 1974, when a gunshot was blasted to the head causing him to immediately lose his eyesight. "I was 22 and was backing out of a relative's driveway when the lights went out in Georgia". Bradford said it was instant. "I knew I had been shot. A few hours later, the doctor told me I would never see again". The shooter was Bradford's former sister-in-law. "I was at their house and it wasn't a good situation". He said "the next thing I knew, I had been show and blinded. But I was determined, I told the doctor I was a survivor and that I was going to make it".
Two years later, Bradford followed relatives Henry and Esther Reed to Kansas. Settling in Wichita from 1976 to 1980, he worked at Wichita Industries and Services for the Blind, also known as Envision. It wasn't like it is today, Bradford said Envision didn't pay back then what it pays today.
"I was following my boss as he moved from hotel to restaurant and so on". He said "my boss moved to Denver, but I didn't want to leave Kansas. I wanted a good, sturdy job and that is what Envision has provided". Since returning to Envision, Bradford has worked nearly every manufacturing station with a positive attitude every day. Bradford enjoyed hosting barbeques during which he does most of the cooking. He also enjoyed movies, church and spending time with his wife Sherry. We have 7 children and 13 grandchildren. Bradford said life was good.
After 19 and a half years at Envision, Bradford retired from Envision in 2013. James loved and owned several cars. One of his favorites was a black 1965 Jetstar One. He truly loved his car.
His last cars were a 2005 Chevy Impala and he brought his wife a maroon 2014 ford fusion. Often you would find him outside backing the cars back. He would use his foot to guide and he knew where his stopping point was. James was very intuitive when it came to cars. He could quickly tell you what was wrong with a vehicle just by listening to the running engine.
He would fondly work side by side his beloved brothers and cousins in every capacity. He loved detailing cars. He made sure that his wife Sherry's car was just as clean as his. No matter the weather, he was outside washing cars, shining the wheels. The guys would stop by and ask him how he kept his cars so clean. No one could believe that this blind man could keep such nice vehicles. There were no dirty cars at out home. James also taught his cousin Johnny Reed how to travel to Mississippi when he had graduated from high school. He was 18, all by himself. He also taught his daughter Lateefha and his wife.
James was an amazing cook. The church had a fundraiser at Saint Luke and Sister Martha Baughns were so amazed at how he would fry the fish. He also would prepare steaks for all the women on Mother's Day. He liked to cook for Superintendent Pastor Shadrack Smith also.
He had a mind like a steel trap. He could remember everyone's phone number by heart. He only needed to hear the phone number twice and it was locked into his brain. He was a mathematician. He could add large sums in his head and was always 100% correct. He also had a keen sense of touch. He could touch a bill and tell you the denomination. He didn't let his blindness to stop him. He went wherever he wanted. He had several drivers: his brother Robert, his cousin Johnny Reed, C Reed and his dear friend James Storey and others.
James met his wife in 1989. They were friends for years. James and Sherry were married on July 2, 1994.
He is preceded in death by his parents Jessie and Mattie Bradford, brother Leroy(Maggie), Jimmie(Marilyn) Bradford, sister Bonnie Connor(LC. Connor) and Son Lester(Keiyunta) Adams.
James leaves his loving wife Sherry Bradford of 26 years, as well as his children sons Dwight and Vinny Bradford, Corey Thompson. Daughter Jamie Bradford and Pamela (Herman) Green. Bonus daughter Lateefha D. Arnold.
He is survived by 13 siblings Vicy (Arthur) Townes, Estelle (Charles) Neal, Jessie (Joann) Bradford, Robert (Denise) Bradford, Bobbie (Meka) Bradford, Lacy (Lillie Pearl) Bradford, Isaac Bradford-Harris, Nancy (Gregory) Means, Dornell Bradford and a host of grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends and family.
James touched many with his love for Life, fast cars, the great outdoors, his beautiful smile, laughter and his love for family. He never met a stranger; he remembered everyone's voice and would call you by name.
James was a hard worker, Loving husband and a caring father to all his children. He loved everyone and could be rough at times but deep down inside he was a big ol' Sugar Bear who was loved by all. James will be greatly missed.
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