May 9, 1927 – May 13, 2020
On Wednesday, May 13th as the sun began to set, Erlene Donahoe Bradford gained her heavenly wings. Though her body was tired and weak from surviving brain surgery, numerous infections and hip surgery throughout the past nine months, she had yet another battle with COVID 19. She lived and died on her terms and happy to leave when the Lord called her home.
She was an active child born during the depression to parents Ben and Maggie Farrar Donahoe, Big brother Orville Donahoe and big sister Dorothy McCarty, who all proceeded her in death. She worked hard and hated to pay full price for anything. She loved to share the story about a cut she sustained when she worked at the local diner in high school. The owner told her to slice the tomatoes thin enough she could see through them and in doing so she nearly sliced the end of her finger off. Erlene was named Ms. Diboll and proudly wore her crown. After graduation she attended East Texas Baptist University majoring in voice and piano and continuing her studies to graduate from Stephen F. Austin State University and began her teaching career. She married Earl W. Bradford in April 1949 and they were married for 62 years until his death in 2011. She was an accomplished seamstress, making all her square dance dresses, petticoats and matching ties for Earl. One of her favorite vacations was to Southfork, Colorado to square dance for a week each summer.
Erlene, like her mother Maggie, loved to travel. She was happiest on a Princess cruise. She tried other cruise lines through the years, but she always said, “it’s not as nice as a Princess Cruise.” She was a huge fan of the Lady Jacks basketball team and once followed them to Hawaii to see them play. Not that she needed an excuse since Hawaii was one of her favorite vacation spots. She and Earl traveled to many places through the years with their favorite traveling companions, Ken and Betty Wood always at their side in a car, bus, train or plane, with Earl and Ken creating some prank or adventure in Hawaii, Branson, Alaska or just a weekend in Galveston.
She thought “the family that travels together stays together” so for many years, her children and their families spent Memorial Day week in Puerto Vallarta and July 4th week in Crystal Beach. These family vacations were one of her most cherished memories.
The only time she did not like to travel was the week of their once a month bridge club dinner. She was always asking if anyone had any new recipes she could serve when it was their time to host. When she wasn’t on the go, she had a crochet or knitting needle in her hand always making an afghan for a Christmas gift. Later she started painting with oils and became a very talented artist. She always selected a painting subject matter specifically for the person she wanted to have the painting. As macular degeneration took most of her eyesight, she filled much of her time with a new adventure. As she approached her late 80’s she needed to exercise, so her dear friend and neighbor, Habiba Awan introduced her to Tai Chi. The friendship they shared and the exercise kept her going for many more healthy years.
Erlene is survived by her four sons and their families: number one son as she referred to him, Brad Bradford and wife Eve Vaughn of Lucas, Texas; Keith Bradford and wife Sherrie of Nacogdoches who, per Keith, no matter how hard he tries, he will never be number one son; Kevin Bradford and wife Angela of Timpson who used Erlene was his business advisor - if Kevin mentioned a new business venture and she thought it would fail, he was sure to make it happen and succeed; Eric Bradford and Holly of Porter, Texas who is the only son to inherit her artistic abilities.
Grandsons Matthew (Rashay) Bradford of Allen, Texas, Joshua (Mandy) Bradford, Kaleb Bradford of Nacogdoches, Anakin Bradford and Jeremy Peake of Porter, Texas.
Granddaughters Emily Bradford, Fort Sam Houston Texas, Amber Grumbles, Timpson, Ashley Sosa of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Alyssa Bradford of Abilene, Texas.
Great grandchildren Nathaniel and Zachary Bradford, Katelyn Grumbles, Joshua and Blaze Sosa.
And a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors.
The Bradford family wishes to thank the staff and her friends at The Arbor Assisted Living who have been so kind to her the past few years; the staff at Advantage Health Care who kept her entertained and healthy with their personal trainers each week and her “personal assistants” as she referred to them; the doctors, nurses and staff at Nacogdoches Medical Center who knew her as, “Mrs. Bradford, Dr. Awan’s neighbor” when she had the EMTs on speed dial to take her to the ER; Dr. Aaron Polk, who would take our calls anytime we needed a question answered not once, but sometimes twice or three times; the Texas State Library Talking Books Program that provided many hours of enjoyment; the staff at Westward Trails who cared for her during her final days; and the staff at Harbor Hospice.
Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.
Private graveside services will be held Monday, May 18 at 3:00 honoring social distancing to protect family, friends and the community.
Funeral arrangements under the direction of Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
May 16, 2020
Please accept my condolences on the passing of your dear mother. My husband and I were part of that monthly bridge group for many years and enjoyed getting to know your parents. They were great fun to play cards with and hear of their many travel adventures. My deepest sympathies.
May 15, 2020
Oh God certainly called a "Special Angel" home! She was such a special person to everyone and now she is rejoicing with Mr. Earl! I know you will miss her dearly but you all know you will see her again in Heaven. I did not know all of you but I know Kevin and Angelia were so so good to her! Ske and Earl were very special to us when we lived in Nacogdoches and I have some beautiful memories with them! Will be praying for all of you!