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107th Birthday: Carol Bradford

Carol Bradford was born Verna “Carol” Cash, July 30, 1912, in McPherson County, Nebraska. She lived with her family in a sod house until she was 12, at which time they moved to North Platte, Nebraska.

She finished her schooling, received her teaching certificate from Nebraska State Teachers College in 1932 and taught school in one-room rural schoolhouses in Nebraska until 1937, when she quit to get married.

Carol married the love of her life, Gerald Bradford, May 29, 1937. They started a family in April 1940 when their daughter, Sharon, was born; their son Gordon followed in October 1941. She taught school again in 1946, as there was a teacher shortage due to the war; Carol’s daughter was one of her students.

Gordon was diagnosed with polio in 1945 at the age of 4. He spent five months in the Shriners Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska. At age 8 Gordon moved to Tacoma, Washington, to live with his aunt and uncle in order to receive treatment for polio-related health conditions.

The family lived on a farm in Nebraska with no electricity or indoor facilities. They installed electricity in 1948 and the outdoor facilities were never replaced. Carol and her family lived the normal Nebraska farm life. From 1950 to 1953 they raised about 2,000 turkeys. They killed and dressed about half of them by hand and sold them at Thanksgiving and Christmas for extra income; the remaining turkeys were sold live.

In May of 1954 they moved to Powell, Wyoming, to live with Carol’s aunt. Carol worked in the food industry, and her third child, David, was born May 1955. Due to the construction work her husband was in, they moved to several different towns, ending up in Buffalo, Wyoming. Carol worked for the state of Wyoming in a Soldier’s Home from 1971 until 1977, when she retired to care for her husband until his death in March 1982.

In 1982, Carol moved back to North Platte, and while there was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy.

In 1986, Carol moved to Tacoma to live with her sister Ethel — both widows — to help care for their mother until she passed in November 1992, just shy of her 100th birthday. Carol stayed in Tacoma with Ethel until she passed in November 2008.

Carol then moved to Medford in January 2009, where she currently resides with her granddaughter and her husband.

Carol has 7 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and 12 great-great-grandchildren.

“Thanks to God, I have had a hard, but a very good life — a family that loves me, lots of friends, good health, am a cancer survivor, and just celebrated my 107th birthday,” Carol said in a press release.

Carol Bradford