VERO BEACH , FL – R. Bradford Burnham, Jr. 90, of Vero Beach, FL and Fishers Island, NY – formerly of Hudson, OH – passed away peacefully on December 21 at Indian River Medical Center in Vero Beach. The loving husband of Joan (Barrett) Burnham, Brad was predeceased by his first wife, Anne (Hopkins) Burnham, the mother of his five children.
Born in his family‟s home on May 30, 1921 in Larchmont, New York, Brad was the son of Louise (Campbell) and Rufus Bradford Burnham. His high school years were spent at Pleas-ant Hill Academy, Pleasant Hill, TN and at Mount Hermon School, Mount Hermon, MA, where he graduated in 1939. He followed his father to Yale and graduated with the Class of 1944. Already in a Marine training group, he was quickly sent to the Pacific theater, attained the rank of Lieutenant, and survived front line combat on Iwo Jima.
Returning home at the end of World War II, Brad joined the sales force at Samuel Moore & Company in Mantua, OH when it was a twelve person operation, and over the course of a nearly forty-year career be-came president and CEO, and helped build the plastics manufacturer into an eighty million dollar company by the time he retired in 1984. He and his wife, Anne, settled in Hudson, OH where they raised their five children and lived for four decades. Always a champion of education, Brad was one of the founders of the Hudson Montessori School and an ac-tive supporter of Western Reserve Academy, also in Hudson. For many, many years, Brad was the secretary of both the Class of 1939 at Mount Hermon School and Yale‟s Class of 1944 and enjoyed the frequent contact with classmates that these posts provided. He never missed a reunion, was an active class agent for both schools, and most recently chaired Yale‟s Class of 1944 60th Reunion Gift Campaign which achieved a record 95% participation rate.
Throughout his life and especially in his retirement, Brad devoted a great deal of time and energy to a wide array of civic organizations. Over the course of fourteen years on Hiram College‟s Board of Trustees, Brad used his persistence and persuasiveness to raise more than 23 million dollars for the college‟s scholarship fund. As president of the Fishers Is-land Civic Association, Brad worked tirelessly to expand and strengthen the year round population which he saw as es-sential to the long term health of the island. He was a driving force behind the formation of the Walsh Park Benevolent Corporation, a director of the Fishers Island Gazette and supervised the creation of the original Island Growth Plan, a strategic vision for the island‟s future. As a long time trustee, he also successfully pushed to provide a year round pas-tor for the Union Chapel.
During World War II, Brad learned to fly an airplane and was able to purchase his own Beechcraft Bonanza in the late 1960s. He used this plane to fly back and forth every summer weekend between his work in Ohio and his family on Fishers Island. A passionate sailor, Brad loved to race his Bullseye, Peregrine, and was especially thrilled when he could beat his younger brother, Dave. Over the course of his life, Brad was an active parishioner at Christ Church in Hudson, Ohio and at the Union Chapel, as well as at Christ Church in Vero Beach.
When he settled in Florida with his second wife, Joan, Brad directed his prodigious energies and fund raising abilities toward the Indian River Habitat for Humanity. In 2000, he and a friend organized the Moorings Habitat Committee in the hopes of getting the others in their residential community interested in the Habitat cause. Over the course of the next eight years, more than 40% of Moorings residents participated in sponsoring 45 homes. Brad later successfully chal-lenged five other prominent residential communities to follow the Moorings‟ lead; now nearly half of all Indian River Habi-tat for Humanity homes are sponsored by these neighborhoods. In this Habitat work during his final years, Brad demon-strated many of the traits that had marked his life: contagious enthusiasm, generosity of spirit, persuasive charm, and a “passion for his communities and the people who live in them.”
In addition to his beloved wife, Joanie, Brad is survived by five adoring children: Robin Owen of Bozeman, MT, R. Brad-ford Burnham III of New York, NY, Sarah Malinowski and David C. Burnham II of Fishers Island, NY and Rachel Van Voorhis of Mattapoisett, MA, as well as sixteen admiring grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He is also survived by three step-sons: H. Grady Barrett III of Kansas City, MO, John H. Barrett of San Antonio, TX and Andrew L. Barrett of Powell, OH, and eight step-grandchildren. His sisters, Elinor Burnham and Helen B. Ward died before him; a younger brother, David Burnham, lives in Rehoboth, MA.
A celebration of Brad Burnham‟s life will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4 p.m. at Christ Church in Vero Beach; a summer memorial service on Fishers Island is being planned. Contributions in Mr. Burnham‟s memory can be made to the Capital Campaign, Union Chapel U.C.C, PO Box 192, Fishers Island, NY 06390 or Habitat for Human-ity, Indian River Chapter, 4568 N. Highway, US 1,Vero Beach, FL 32967.