Jean Ellen Bradford


Jean Ellen Bradford


Jean Bradford

Jean Ellen Bradford, 85, of Billings, passed away peacefully on Feb. 21, 2020, with family at her side. Jean was born on Feb. 7, 1935, in Helena, to Quay and Mildred Painter.

After a childhood in Helena filled with horses, Girl Scouts and skiing, and upon graduation from Helena High, Jean headed to Montana State for a degree in Education. She was an active member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and Spurs.

She married William Otis Bradford on June 14, 1958, and they shared 55 years together while raising two children.

Jean taught for several years in Hardin and Billings before starting over 20 years of working for non-profit organizations — first as the Executive Director of the YWCA, and later at the Billings Rape Task Force. Jean was a 62-year resident of Billings and a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal since 1958.

Mom was a lifelong example of volunteering and giving back to the community — whether it was the Junior League, United Way, American Cancer Society, Boys & Girls Club, Rocky Mountain College Institute for Peace Studies, Girl Scouts, MSU Boards, as well as numerous positions with St. Luke’s.

Upon retirement, Jean and Bill traveled extensively — often combining their love of bicycling with their trips.  Favorites stops were Australia, New Zealand, Machu Picchu, Italy, the Panama Canal and wherever their grandkids were residing.

Jean was an avid Bobcats fan, a member of the MSU Quarterback Club, and rarely missed a home football game — even venturing to many road and playoff games to support the Cats. In 2011, Bill and Jean were recipients of the Blue and Gold Alumni Award from Montana State for outstanding contributions to the university. Jean was thrilled when both children and both granddaughters chose to attend MSU (although bribing the granddaughters with full ski packages may have helped).

She was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, Robert D. Painter of Helena; and husband Bill.

Jean is survived by her daughter, Ann (Scot DeBruler) Bradford of Seattle; her son, Robert (Karee) Bradford of Billings; and two granddaughters, Kaylee (Drew) Thompson and Angelina of Billings and Rachel (Josh) Gilligan and great-grandson Crosby of Billings. Also surviving is her sister-in-law, Charlotte Hopper of Lacey, Washington.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 5,at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church 119 N. 33rd St., in Billings, with a reception to follow.

Our family is so grateful for the amazing caregivers and staff at Westpark Village who cared for Mom for the last six years in the Memory Care Unit. Special thanks to Maria, Kim, Rose, Margie and Cindy for loving Mom so well.

In lieu of flowers, Mom would encourage you to donate to your charity of choice.

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0 thoughts on “Jean Ellen Bradford”

  1. I was saddened to hear of your Mother’s passing. She and your Dad were so very active at St Luke’s. I enjoyed working with her at the YWCA and have many happy memories of working together. May God’s Peace and Comfort be with you now and in the days to come.
    Karen I Ford
    Shoreline, WA

  2. Dear Ann, Bob and Families, Your Mom’s infectious smile and laugh will be in my heart forever. There was never a time I saw her that she didn’t make me feel special. The last time Jackie and I saw her at WPV she knew us and remembered Mom perfectly. Her memory struggle is over, she is with your Dad and will forever be your angel. I will be working out of town on Thursday and I am very disappointed I won’t get to see you and give you both a hug. You’re Mom was a fabulous woman and true friend of my Mom’s. Blessings. Jill (Jacques) Wilson

  3. Janice Supola Bukey

    I’m sorry to hear of your family’s loss. Jean was a good friend to my mother, Barbara Supola, for so many years. She was always kind to me, and I’m grateful I was able to know her growing up. I pray for your comfort and peace!

  4. Tasneem Khaleel

    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Jean. I worked with Jean on the Board of Directors of the Institute of Peace Studies for several years. I thoroughly enjoyed working with her and have many fond memories of our time together. My condolences to the family. May God give you the strength to cope with your loss.
    Tasneem Khaleel
    Professor Emeritus of Biology
    MSU Billings

  5. Joanne G Schrupp

    Jean hired me in 1982 at the YWCA. She was a wonderful supervisor and an even better mentor. I learned so much about leadership from her. She was classy, down-to-earth, and always caring. I will never forget her and will always value the guidance and friendship she gave me. My prayers are with you as you grieve. May you be blessed by happy memories and sustained in faith.

    Joanne Schrupp
    Colstrip MT

  6. Bob- You and the family are in my thoughts and prayers. Remember the good times and celebrate her wonderful life.

  7. Susan Fergerson Wong

    Sending our love and blessings to you all! Great memories!
    Carol Fergerson and Susie Fergerson Wong

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