Donald Horace Bradford, 85, of Kyle, Texas passed away on Sunday, January 22nd in Kyle, TX. He was born in Graham, Texas on January 10, 1927 to Horace and Mattie (White) Bradford. Mr. Bradford is survived by his loving wife of 27 years, Linda; from his first marriage to Rosalind Sommers, daughter, Donna Sibray and her husband, Steven of Scottsbluff, NE; son, Philip Bradford and his wife, Mindy of Albuquerque, NM; grandson, Jonathan Sibray and his wife, Kim of Edgewood, NM; grandson, David Bradford of Albuquerque, NM; granddaughter, Tamara Sibray of Laramie, WY; and great-grandson, Nathan Sibray of Edgewood, NM. He was preceded in death by his sister, Cara Hamscher.
Don grew up in El Paso and at age 10, he lost both his hearing and sight from spinal meningitis. Luckily, his sight returned within a few months. His father encouraged him to be independent and took him on many excursions including participating in parades and campouts with the Sheriff's posse group of which his father was a member. With one of his uncles being a pilot, Don took an interest in flying and became one of the first deaf licensed pilots at age 18 logging over 10, 000 hours over his lifetime.
Don's love of sports drew him to the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin where he was a member of the National Deaf Prep Champion football team and became a cadet officer in the school's Cadet Corps working up to the rank of captain. After graduation in 1944, he went on to graduate from Gallaudet University in 1949 with a B.S. degree. Don delighted fellow students with airplane rides over the Gallaudet campus.
Upon completing some graduate courses, Don accepted a position to teach and coach at the New Mexico School for the Deaf in Santa Fe. In two years, Don's mathematical skills led him to a career change from teaching to an opening working with computers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. As a data analyst, he participated in the 'Maniac' project which developed one of the world's first 'electric brains'. He also co-authored the MADCAP language used in programming for the 'Maniac' project and went overseas for bombing tests. He retired after 36 years of service.
In his leisure time, Don's first love was flying. He became a check pilot for the New Mexico Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. He also loved sharing outdoor activities with his wife, Linda and family such as golfing, boating, fishing, camping, and skiing. Oftentimes, one would find Don and his wife out camping every other weekend with friends, hearing and deaf alike. There was a special place in his heart for all kids and dogs and he had a smile and a hug for everyone.
Don was a tireless advocate for the deaf both in the workplace and community. He served on various committees and received numerous awards one of which was the Amos Kendall award from Gallaudet which honors a deaf person for notable excellence in a professional field not related to deafness.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Don's name to the Texas School for the Deaf Foundation (tsdfoundation.org).