That was certainly a tremendous tribute paid to Robert “Duke Bradley, as so many came to the Welsh Funeral Home and the chapel at the Soldiers Home last week to pay their respects to this beloved, lifelong Chelsea resident.
Duke Bradley was one of the legendary personalities in this city’s history and became well-known for the outstanding job he did as the executive director of Chelsea Community Cable Television. People would stop by the cable TV studio just to say hello and converse with him about all topics, and Duke always would welcome them with his great smile and genuinely-pleasant demeanor.
People flocked to him whenever Duke — with his Hollywood-handsome looks and his always-meticulous attire — would show up at local functions. It was almost like he held the unofficial title of mayor of Chelsea — he was that popular and well-liked. And though he undoubtedly would have been elected to public office had he chosen to run, Duke was content helping people and promoting the city in his position as CCCTV executive director.
When the Chelsea High School Hall of Fame was re-established, Duke Bradley was the first person whom Arnold Goodman contacted to join the committee. Duke was passionate about Chelsea sports and we remember how much he wanted to bring Hall of Fame recognition not only to the athletes with whom he himself had competed, but also to the more recent graduates whom he had showcased by televising CHS sports events.
Duke Bradley was a part of some of the greatest sports moments in Chelsea High history. He was can assistant coach with his brother-in-law Bob Fee’s staff when the Red Devils came back from a 20-0 deficit to stun Everett High in the 1980 Thanksgiving Day football game. Duke’s son, Robert Bradley Jr., was a key member of the CHS football team during his athletic career.
The tributes still are pouring in for Duke. Sylvia Ramirez, the president of the Kiwanis Club of Chelsea and former Pop Warner president, said Duke was always willing to cover their events and put the club in the spotlight. She remembered Duke coming to club events and always arriving with a big smile and having a warm, gracious greeting for all.
Duke brought much joy to others — and asked nothing in return. He made Chelsea a better place and helped Chelsea Community Cable Television become one of the most important institutions in our city, an organization that you could depend upon to bring positive recognition to our clubs and organizations, as well as to our community in general.
We learned through two beautiful eulogies delivered at the funeral how Duke gave affectionate nicknames to each of his grandchildren, all of whom came to understand over the years how admired their grand-dad was in his native city.
Duke Bradley made his mark and left an incredible legacy of kindness, generosity, and warmth in Chelsea, the place he called home.
We believe that a fitting and well-deserved tribute to Duke would be to name the television studio at CCTV headquarters the “Robert ‘Duke’ Bradley Television Studio.” We hope the board of directors will consider this request on behalf of all of Duke’s family members and friends — all of whom truly loved this decent, honorable man — at their next meeting.
Duke Bradley was a giant in this city whose memory will live on.
May he rest in peace.