THORNTON — Two-term state Rep. Lester William Bradley is being remembered by colleagues and friends as a good public servant, a great guy and a celebrated square-dance caller.
Bradley, 66, died at his home in Thornton Gore on Wednesday. A memorial service for Bradley will be conducted Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 2 p.m. by the Rev. John Muehlke Jr. at the Pemi Valley Church on Route 3 in Woodstock.
Born July 11, 1947, in Lincoln, Bradley, a Republican, was a member of the New Hampshire House of Representative’s Science, Technology and Energy Committee where he worked closely with fellow North Country lawmaker Laurence Rappaport, R-Colebrook.
“He was a good friend of mine,” said an emotional Rappaport on Thursday evening, “and I miss him very much.”
As a lineman for New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Bradley gained valuable insight into how utilities operate that was useful in the Science, Technology and Energy Committee, said Rappaport, adding that Bradley would “definitely be missed” on the committee and in the House. “There’s already a card going around,” Rappaport said, to extend the House’s condolences to his family.
According to Bradley’s obituary provided by the Fournier-Hale Funeral Home of North Woodstock, Bradley served in the U.S. Marine Corps and National Guard, was a lumberjack and sawyer, and was someone who “loved playing and listening to bluegrass and gospel music.”
Sue Marsden, a longtime Thornton resident, said she could attest to the last description of Bradley whom she knew in several ways, including through the Pemi Valley Bluegrass Festival, which she and her late husband, Russ, and others co-founded in 1993.
“For many years on Saturday nights at the blue grass festival, he (Bradley) would run a square dance and people would enjoy that. He was a great caller, and neighbors and friends would join in with him for the music,” Marsden said.
Marsden and Bradley also knew each other from the West Thornton Grange No. 253, of which Bradley was a 50-year member, as well as just from around town.
“He and his family have lived here for a long, long time, and they’re just nice, nice people,” said Marsden, adding that many residents of Thornton are saddened by Bradley’s death.
Although she didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to him, Marsden had a recent encounter with Bradley.
“We just had a grange meeting a couple of months ago, and I’m glad I got to see him that night,” said Marsden.
Asked to give a favorite memory of Bradley, Marsden said she was unable.
“I wish I could say there was one thing, but there were so many.”
David Borden, D-New Castle, who chairs the Science, Technology and Energy Committee, said the committee had a moment of silence on Thursday for Bradley.