Bruce Dean Bradley finished two years of high school in Elgin, Illinois west-northwest of Chicago, then joined the Navy in October 1940.
He’d been living with an older sister, Laura Bradley Nessler, and her family. Laura, who was a teen when Bruce was born on Jan. 29, 1922, helped their father raise him — the youngest of five children in Paw Paw, Illinois about 55 miles southwest of Elgin.
The father, Daniel Bradley, was a farmer. The mother, Luella Beemer Bradley, fell ill when Bruce was young. In the sad language of the day, the 1930 Census identified her as an “inmate” at Dixon State Hospital.
Bruce Dean Bradley was a seaman second class when he was killed on the U.S.S. Arizona in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
Both of his parents outlived him. There are memorial markers for all three at the Wyoming cemetery in Paw Paw. A great nephew was named for Bruce Dean Bradley.
Sources: The American Battle Monuments Commision; Lee County (Illinois) Times; the Leader Telegram of Eau Claire, Wisconsin; grave markers; Census; Navy muster roll. Navy photo. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.