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Donald Francis Bradford, 89, of Olympia passed away May 16, 2017, at his home on Carlyon Beach surrounded by loved ones.

Don is survived by four children, 14 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and four of his eight siblings.

Don was born May 10, 1928, in Bloomington, Ill., and his family relocated to the Pacific Northwest when he was a teenager. At the age of 17, Don enlisted in the Army and served three years, including an overseas tour in Korea, and was last assigned to the 7th Signal Company in Japan.

Don was preceded in death by his lovely wife, Carol Lula Bradford (Eastlick). When Don was 14 and Carol was seven, he once ran past her in her front yard, paused to state “I’m going to marry you someday” then continued running. At the time, Carol thought him an obnoxious boy. They rode the same school bus but a romance was not kindled until after Don returned from his Army service. His sister, Helen Eastlick (Bradford), re-introduced her handsome, fun-loving brother to her beautiful, intelligent friend and sister-in-law. The rest is family history.

Don and Carol raised their family in Longview. After working 43 years as an electrician at Weyerhaeuser, he and Carol retired to Olympia to enjoy the slow pace of life on the beach. Don loved to be out on the water in the Puget Sound and to watch his family enjoy the beach. On sunny afternoons, he was often found back-floating around in the bay. It was said he was one of the few who could sleep while afloat. He is best remembered for his quick-witted humor and charm. Some of his last words of advice to his children were to “stay afloat.”

Knowing him, we took that advice quite literally. He was a kind man and a true gentlemen to the very end. He will be sorely missed.

Don’s family will hold a memorial service at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 8th at Carlyon Beach in Olympia.

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