Amherst Magazine
Bradford Judkins Johnson '59

Perhaps symbolic of a man whose life touched so many different people, Brad was eulogized by a Williams man. His memorial service was held at Boston’s Trinity Church on Oct. 8, 2008. Those in attendance at the service ranged from clients and colleagues from his years of managing funds with several Boston-based investment houses to the Lebanese taxi driver whom Brad had befriended while commuting to work.

The speaker at Brad’s memorial service had met Brad at a Chi Psi fraternity convention in South Carolina while Brad was serving as president of the Amherst chapter. He captured what we all knew about Brad with his words: “Brad was a man of unfailing courtesy, utmost integrity and impeccable ethics who earned the deep respect, admiration and love of us all.”

Our friendship began at Amherst, survived a lawyer/client relationship while Brad successfully extricated himself from an entangled title to family property in New Hampshire, continued through his divorce from his first wife, Susan, and his remarriage to Judy O’Riordan and blossomed during the past 20 years while we were “neighbors” in second homes on Cape Cod.

Brad came to us from Winchester (Mass.) High School. He came to us with juvenile diabetes, a disease with which he struggled throughout his life. At Amherst, he was known for his singing with the Zumbyes. Many of us remember Brad and his friend, Clay Hart, gliding forward to croon the old standard, “Mimi.” Though he majored in religion, his association with Professor Rolfe Humphries led him into the field of poetry; he published his book of poems, Pulpits to the North, in 1974. He was more concerned with, and interested in, the well being of others than in himself. It was difficult to get him to talk about himself and impossible to get him to read any of his poems out loud.

During his career, Brad serviced a variety of individual and business clients, principally with equity investment services. In 1991, he founded Atlantic Investment Advisors, Inc. which he sold to Steinberg Global Advisors six years ago, and from which he retired in 2007. But Brad’s life outside of the business world took on special meaning for many of us who grieve his loss. He was president of his Class during the Vietnam years, from 1969 to 1974. Tom Green, who succeeded him as president, commented recently, “He was a great leader for the Class at a time when we needed leadership.” Brad held a number of directorships, but the one he enjoyed the most was his position with Greece’s Anatolia College for which he provided valuable investment advice.

Brad was a loving husband to Judy and a proud and devoted father to Martha Millican, of Sudbury, Mass.; Katherine Braddock, of Denver, Colo.; and Sean O’Riordan, of Los Angeles, Calif.; and grandfather of five year-old Nina Braddock. He loved his home on Woods Cove in Orleans on Cape Cod where he divided his time with his Boston condominium. Brad was a serious collector of antique books and considered his collection of Dickens first editions among his most prized possessions.

During the past two years, Brad suffered from the throat cancer that ultimately took his life. Blessed with a wonderful sense of humor, he could find delight and irony in almost any situation, In July, Brad undertook to have his driver’s license renewed despite not having driven for years. He approached the examiner on a cane, unable to see well enough to fill out the forms and unable to speak because his larynx had been removed. Somehow he passed. He kept that license in his breast pocket for easy access to share with others.

Brad’s was a life of creativity, achievement through hard work, thoughtful caring for others, loyal friendship, love of the outdoors, effective leadership, wonderful humor and, especially at the end when his voice was taken from him, his eyesight was severely impaired and his body was weakened, quiet dignity. He was a gift to all of us who were embraced by him as a friend.

Bradford Judkins Johnson died on Sept. 27, 2008.

—John Pendleton ’58

 

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