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.