Bradford “Bradley” Arliss Washington, native of Claremore, Okla., died on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 in Ketchikan, Ala.
He died at the age of 81, following several years of treatment for cancer. Memorial services were held in Ketchikan on Saturday, July 20, 2013.
Brad was born at home on Feb. 1, 1932, to Herschel Clay Washington and Jewell Dean Nickerson Washington.
He attended Westside Elementary School and graduated from Claremore High School with his class of 1949. He completed two years of college work at Oklahoma A&M College (now known as Oklahoma State University) before joining the U.S. Navy in 1951.
After serving four years, he returned to Stillwater and completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Arts Education, and ultimately earned his Master’s Degree.
His working career began at about fifth grade, helping his dad and brother, Wayne with deliveries to customers on a milk route.
They got up very early every morning and worked until time for school. Whenever he had some spare time, Brad would play golf or go fishing. He was a “fishing buddy” to many throughout his life in Oklahoma and Alaska.
After college work was complete, Brad taught Industrial Arts in Winfeld, Kan., for two years before moving to Dallas, Texas, where he taught for several years.
One year, he made arrangements to travel to a fishing camp in Canada during the summer, which turned out to be a life-changing vacation.
He enjoyed some great catches, including landing his first Muskie, and he also became acquainted with Nancy Eisentraut, the daughter of the camp’s owner, who worked there in the summers.
When Brad returned to Dallas, he and Nancy continued their friendship through the U.S. Mail. He would return to that camp the next three summers.
Beginning to tire of city life in Dallas, Brad’s thoughts often took him back to fifth grade when he studied about Alaska, and how he had a strong interest in living there someday. He began to check on teaching positions that might be available. Eventually, a letter came from Ketchikan, describing a position in the Industrial Arts, and Brad was hired.
On Aug. 17, 1963, Brad and Nancy Adele Eisentraut were married and drove to the west coast, where they caught the new Alaska ferry Matanuska, and sailed to Ketchikan; arriving on Aug. 25.
Brad taught in the Ketchikan High School for 14 years. After that, he took charge of the district’s correspondence program, checking on students who were studying at home in the surrounding area. For ten years, he continued this by boat. In the summers, he worked as a commercial fisherman.
Brad is survived by his wife, Nancy, of the home; two sons, Ben and Barry, and two grandsons, Alex and Brandon, all of Ketchikan.
Other survivors include two brothers, Wayne Washington and wife, Esteline of Claremore, and Fred Washington of Broken Arrow; three sisters, Geraldine Williams and husband, Fred of Owasso, J. Faye Baker of Claremore, and Judy Edwards and husband, Bob of Ketchum, Okla.; five nieces, Sherri Anderson, Linda Curtis, Carla Peitz, Leslie Holman, and Brenda Lagers; and two nephews, Brett Battenfield and Scott Washington.
Surviving grandnieces and a grandnephew include Ashley, Dawnella, Sophie, Sarah, Rebekah, Michelle, Lynse, Brooke, and Mitchell. Several cousins and many friends also survive.
Preceding Brad in death were both parents; a nephew, Steven Kelly Washington, and a grandniece, Brandi Ann Battenfield.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Rogers County Historical Museum, 121 North Chickasaw, Claremore, OK 74017.