In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Robert A. Bradley, 81

Robert A. Bradley, 1939-2020

Robert A. Bradley, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among the European Affinity Peoples in Germany, Italy, Hong Kong and Israel, died Dec. 29, 2020. He was 81.

The second of seven children, Bradley was born in Alabaster, Alabama, to the late Robert A. Bradley Sr. and Gladys Norred Bradley. According to his family, he grew up in what is now the Riverchase area, within walking distance of his beloved Cahaba River.

His family says he was called to the ministry as a youngster and was ordained within days of his 26th birthday.

In 1965, while serving at pastor of a Baptist mission, he dated and married Barbara Reeser. Together they served at a handful of Alabama churches in Jefferson, Shelby and Walker counties. He continued his education and received the Bachelor of Science from Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, and the Master of Science from the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

When seeking missionary appointment, Bradley wrote that his commitment to foreign missions came as a result of a missions conference at his church in 1977. “I was deeply touched by his Spirit, but I was hesitant to share it with my wife for fear she would not feel the same as I.” He prayed for two days that God would speak to her as well. When he felt the time was right, he said, he shared his experience. “Her response was that the Lord had placed the same thoughts on her heart that night.”

The Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed the Bradleys as missionaries in 1978. The couple served their first 16 years in Hong Kong and Macau. They then were assigned to Tel Aviv, Israel, for four years, Rome, Italy, for one year, and Munich, Germany, for almost three years.

Bradley is survived by his wife of 55 years, Barbara Reeser Bradley; three children, Robert A. “Brad” Bradley III, Belinda Bradley Faulkner (Mark) and Robyn Bradley Bryan; 10 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and siblings Rae Green, Tom Bradley, Ricky Bradley, Johnnie Carney (Bob) and Pat Brown.

A family graveside service was held Jan. 4, 2021, at Dargin Cemetery in Calera, Alabama. A public celebration of life was to be held April 10, 2021.

Read an obituary here.