Patricia Mae Thornhill Bradley, daughter of Charles Alfred ("Pete") Thornhill and Etta Mae Cline, passed peacefully from this world surrounded by loved ones at her home in Spanish Fork, Utah on March 12, 2018. Born in Roanoke, Virginia on February 10, 1945, Patricia, then "Patsy Mae," grew up a proud southern girl in Roanoke and later in Baltimore, Maryland.
Patricia graduated from Brooklyn Park High School. She received her L.P.N. at the nursing school at Johns Hopkins, where she graduated at the top of her class. She worked as a nurse at Mercy, Maryland General, and St. Agnes Hospitals in Baltimore, and later at care facilities in Utah.
Spiritually minded, early in life she embraced Jesus at her Baptist church, and later found and converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Patricia married the love of her life Edward Francis Bradley for time and all eternity on June 4, 1977 in the Washington, DC Temple. They later moved to South Bend, Indiana and then to Mapleton, Utah.
Patricia's life was one of service—as a devoted wife, a mother, a grandmother, an informal missionary who brought family and friends into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and raised missionary sons and grandsons, a Primary teacher, a compassionate service leader, a Cub Scout den mother, a school room mother, a nurse, and a loyal friend. Always watching for ways she could help her son or daughter, her friend, her neighbor, or a lost child wandering down the street, Patricia Bradley found happiness by loving others and making them happy.
Patricia began her life in difficult circumstances. If anyone doubts that cruelties can be forgiven, negative patterns can be broken and reversed, and difficulties can be transcended, Patricia's life is a testament to all these things. She built her life on her ideals, and on her sense of hope. She was deeply patriotic and instilled in her children a love of liberty. She achieved much, but always deflected attention from herself. She couldn't bring herself to hold onto material possessions she wasn't using because she was intensely aware that others could use them. She seemed to draw from an infinite well of patience. She was loving and gentle, yet fierce in defense of her children. A mother to everyone, she loved, loved, loved children. Whenever she spoke to a child, she would look lovingly into his or her eyes and get down on the child's level. As she lowered her voice in a whisper, the child would listen, knowing someone cared and was paying attention.
Patricia was always sweet, but formidably persistent. She made sure her children ate a balanced meal every single time, but she would also snack on donuts drenched in melted margarine. She could mysteriously disappear for most of the day on a "little" Saturday trip to the grocery store. No matter what time of night you woke up, she was somehow still up taking care of the house. She took countless family photos to preserve the past. But if the past wasn’t good enough, she would find a way to improve it.
She loved doing family history in honor of the ancestors to whom she was so grateful for their legacy. She loved to garden. She was enchanted by birdsong, and she always had a song in her heart, humming as she worked. She loved Primary songs, and remembered the lyrics even when she had forgotten much else. She loved the lightness and humor of her Irish heritage and loved to sing songs like "When Irish Eyes are Smilin'" and "McNamara's Band." And above all, she loved her family.
A world-class mom, Patricia took every opportunity to help her children learn. Always looking for ways to make her children’s lives fun and wonderful, she took them on walks, picnics, kite-flying outings, trips to the museum or into nature. She tickled them with her long dark hair and sang songs with them. She planned elaborate birthday parties, carefully chose gifts to nurture their hobbies and interests, brought treats and Irish music to school on St. Patrick’s Day, sent them to school on April Fool’s Day with cardboard sandwiches (and lunch money), and, when they were older, helped them plan creative dates and dances. When one of her children went away, even briefly, they returned to fanfare—signs around the house and treats welcoming them home, so they knew how much they were loved and missed.
Patricia always looked out for her children’s best interests, but also knew when to wink and let them get into harmless trouble. When her children were all grown, she still stocked her house full of treats for them—and for the grandchildren, whom she doted on and dutifully attempted to fatten up with ice cream. She was always on the lookout for things she could find for her children, her grandchildren, and even friends and neighbors at a yard sale or the store. She was always investing in others' happiness.
As Patricia's child, you knew that no matter how bad things got, you always had at least one person in your corner—and that she would move mountains for you. Each of her children received the priceless gift of knowing what it's like to be loved as fully as one human being can possibly be loved by another.
As a young woman, she wrote in her journal that what she wanted out of life was to make her life mean something to those she loved. She succeeded beyond all measure. Patricia leaves a legacy of love that will be passed from generation to generation. And wherever that love lingers with us, so does she.
In death she rejoins the father she lost at age 10, her mother, her brother Ed, her sister Barbara, her brother Albert—whom she never met in this life, and, most of all, her eternal companion Edward and youngest son Charles.
She is survived by a sister Nellie (Liam) McAuliffe; a brother Paul (Elaine) Thornhill; five children: Debbie (J.D.) Fagan, Ken (Sharon), Don (Michaelann), Jen, and Matt; thirteen grandchildren: Crystal Cooper, Brandi Walker, and Sean McCann; Aaron, Luther, Tristan, Ngairie, and K. J. Bradley; Donnie and Nicholas Bradley; Broc Bradley Patten; and Monroe and Lochlan Bradley; four great-grandchildren: Kaenan Walker, Bella Fagan, and Addalie and Ash McCann; a best friend of 62 years, Susan Lee, and a number of nieces and nephews and friends.
Patricia's life will be celebrated Tuesday, March 20 at the "Copper Top Chapel" in Mapleton (1580 N. Main St.) with a viewing at 9:30 AM and a funeral: 11:00 AM. Flowers can be sent via Wheeler Mortuary in Springville, Utah.