Lifelong Jamestown resident celebrates 100th birthday

Man has worn many hats, from war veteran to business owner, farm owner, carpenter and great-great-grandfather.

JAMESTOWN – Lifelong Jamestown resident and World War II veteran Harold Bradds recently celebrated his 100th birthday with friends and family on April 22.

In his lifetime Bradds has worn many hats, from war veteran to business owner, farm owner, carpenter and great-great-grandfather, just to name a few.

For the most part Bradds, lived a quiet life and grew up on his family’s farm, which he said at the time was still worked entirely by a plow pulled by Clydesdales.

“They (his parents) didn’t get a tractor until after I left home. You can farm a lot of land with just horses but that definitely makes a difference.”

Bradds said he has witnessed so many amazing things in his life that it is tough to pinpoint a single moment or thing that he found to be most memorable or impressive. He said that his while his parents’ tractor is up there on the list, as a huge fan of Boston Celtics basketball and Pittsburgh Steelers football, getting to watch his favorite teams on television for the first time was pretty great.

Not merely a sports fan, Bradds says he also has fond memories of playing high school basketball at Jamestown High School and Ross High School where he finished his senior year. He said he was also an avid bowler, playing on league teams until the age of 90.

After high school he met his wife to be, Maxine Saunders. They were married on Nov. 4, 1942, but were parted just 12 short days later when Bradds was sent off to serve his country for three years in World War II.

Bradds’ grandson, Scotte Perry, said that his grandfather is particularly proud of his service during World War II where he served as a T5 Army Tech and built bridges to help the troops complete their missions.

During the war Bradds distinguished himself, earning five Battle Star Medals, Expert Rifleman and a Good Conduct Medal.

After the war Bradds went back to the quiet life. He and his wife settled down on a 50-acre farm, which he still lives on to this day and rents the land to a neighbor who grows soybeans and field corn. Bradds said he also opened Bradds Sinclair Service Station, which served the community for many years until he decided to sell it.

Other than his service in the war, Bradds is most proud of his family ― which includes five children, nine grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren. He said he considers himself lucky that they “are all such great kids,” and has been grateful for the time he has been able to spend with them, whether at large family gatherings at Christmas or just getting together to watch the Steelers.

Bradds’ daughter Bonnie Perry said much of the family still lives in close proximity to each other and some of her fondest memories are from those large Christmas gatherings. One year in particular, she said her father had used his carpentry skills to make her vanity to which mother added a hand-sewn skirt.

“I remember coming downstairs and seeing it. It was like heaven. I still have it to this day.”

She said her father has taught her a lot over her lifetime, but the one thing that has stuck with her the most was to always treat people with respect.

Grandson Scotte agreed, saying that there are some things you can only learn by being around people who are a good example and that his grandfather was definitely a positive influence on his life. “He really is an amazing man.”

When asked how it felt to celebrate 100 years of life, Bradds said with a chuckle, “Honestly, I’m just tickled to still be here.”

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