Former Isle of Wight Supervisor Henry H. Bradby died Saturday, Aug. 23.
Mr. Bradby was the first African-American to be elected to the Board of Supervisors in Isle of Wight County. He served as the Hardy Election District supervisor for 30 years, from 1976 to 2005, and was awarded the Virginia Association of Counties Jefferson Award for a lifetime of public service in 2005. He was the first black public official to receive the statewide award.
He also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Eastern Theological Seminary/Maryland Theological Seminary.
Mr. Bradby served for many years as chairman and vice-chairman of the Board, and has two namesakes in the county — the Henry H. Bradby Park in Rushmere and the Henry H. Bradby Trail at the Isle of Wight fairgrounds.
He was also one of the original organizers of the Rushmere Volunteer Fire Department and cast the deciding vote to build the new Smithfield High School.
Prior to serving on the Board of Supervisors, he served on the county’s Social Services Board for eight years in the late 1960s through early 1970s.
Mr. Bradby worked to enhance successful regional and state partnerships that included his 24 years of service to Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, and participation in the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and the Hampton Roads Mayors and Chairs Caucus.
Mr. Bradby was born Nov. 26, 1923 to the late Rev. Bolden and Eddie Reed Bradby. He was educated at the Isle of Wight Training School and was a member of the class of 1942. He married Virtley Elizabeth Thompson on Dec. 21, 1947 and they were together for 47 years until her death in 1994.
After working a few years with his father to help educate his sisters, he gained employment at the Portsmouth Naval Yard for a number of years.
Mr. Bradby would also continue working at his other job as a waterman even after his retirement. He loved yard work and growing a garden every year.
Mr. Bradby was a member of First Gravel Baptist Church where he served as deacon, board chairman, choir president, trustee, Sunday school teacher and avid Bible scholar.
Mr. Bradby was preceded in death by his wife, Virtley Thompson Bradby, and their eldest son, Charlton Jeffery Bradby; his sister, Gladys Bradby Brown and Janet Bradby Ford.
Left to cherish his memory are his daughters, Sheila B. Bailey of Prince George County and her friend, Brian Wade, and Jana L. Bradby of Rushmeree; a son, Bolden D. Bradby of Rushmere; grandson, Sgt. Maurice B. Bailey (Sabrina); granddaughters, Brandyce A. Bailey of Prince George and Carolyn Bragg and Anita Williams (Jesse) of Petersburg; his friend, Elinor “Miss Ellie” Jones; great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, many cousins and friends and adopted daughter, nurse and caregiver, Missouri Tillery.
Visitation will be held Thursday, Aug. 28, 6 p.m. at First Gravel Hill Baptist Church, followed by a funeral service Friday, noon, at the church.
Poole’s Funeral Home in Surry is in charge of the arrangements.