Edward Standish 'Brad' Bradford Jr., Boys' Latin headmaster

Brad Bradford

Edward Standish "Brad" Bradford Jr., a career educator who had been headmaster of Boys' Latin School during the early 1980s, died Thursday from complications after surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

He was 83.

The son of a businessman and a homemaker, Mr. Bradford was born and raised in Longmeadow, Mass.

After graduating from Admiral Billard Academy in New London, Conn., he served in the Air Force during the Korean War. After being discharged from the service, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1956 from the University of Connecticut.

He earned a master's degree from Wesleyan University and in the late 1970s studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Mr. Bradford taught history and geography and coached several sports at Williston Academy in Easthampton, Mass., from 1956 to 1964. From 1965 to 1967, he was acting headmaster of Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh.

From 1967 to 1977, he was headmaster at Newark Academy in Livingston, N.J., and was interim headmaster at the Pike School in Andover, Mass., for a year before being named headmaster of Boys' Latin School in 1979.

Mr. Bradford replaced the legendary Jack Williams, who had headed the school for 16 years before his death in 1978.

"I think following Jack were tough shoes to fill, but Brad did a good job here. He was an old-fashioned headmaster who was here for the kids. He wasn't into fundraising or the board," said Dyson Ehrhardt, assistant headmaster for development. "Brad really identified with the boys and cared about them. He went to all of their games."

Mary Ellen Thomsen had been head of school at St. Paul's School for Girls during Mr. Bradford's tenure at Boys' Latin.

"Brad had all the qualities that a head of school needed. He cared about the students, parents, alumni and friends of Boys' Latin," said Mrs. Thomsen.

"I remember when we would go once a year to a meeting of the Association of Independent Maryland Schools. Of course, all the heads of school in Baltimore knew one another but those outside of the area felt slightly uncomfortable," said Mrs. Thomsen. "But Brad would always reach out to them. He was a kind and gracious person."

"Brad hired me, and I was there for 26 years," said Ab Logan, who taught English at the North Baltimore private school before retiring last year. "He was the easiest guy in the world to work for or sit by the fire with and talk for hours."

Mr. Logan pointed to the school's learning center as one of his lasting achievements.

"He hired what was then called a reading specialist for kids with learning differences and who had different learning profiles," he said.

"Brad was also always true to his staff — he wouldn't leave you out there hanging — and was diplomatic with parents. He was also popular with students and went the distance so he wouldn't be just an authority figure," said Mr. Logan.

Butch Maisel teaches sophomore European history and U.S. military history to seniors.

"He hired me 31 years ago, and I'll never forget it. I was also the varsity soccer coach. Brad was a soccer fanatic," said Mr. Maisel.

"He was a real gentleman, and he knew the kids. He knew every kid's name and shook their hands. He knew what they were doing," he said. "He'd sit in class and listen and sometimes he would talk. It was very exciting."

After retiring from Boys' Latin in 1986, Mr. Bradford developed programs on the age of sail before 1850 that he presented at the Renaissance Institute at Notre Dame University of Maryland, the Osher continuing education program at Towson University and Elderhostel.

He also lectured widely on other maritime subjects, some of which included life at sea, whaling, lighthouses, John Paul Jones and Horatio Nelson.

Mr. Bradford's enduring love of the sea and ships began as a child when he learned to sail with his father, a noted yachtsman and owner of the yawl Estrella, winner of the 1939 New London, Conn., to Annapolis race.

When he was a teenager, Mr. Bradford crossed the Atlantic with Irving McClure Johnson, a well-known yachtsman, author and filmmaker, who through the years owned three tall ships that he named Yankee.

From 2003 to 2010, Mr. Bradford was the guest lecturer on cruise ships sailing to South America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific.

He also volunteered at Brown Memorial Park Avenue United Presbyterian Church, where he taught in a reading program for inner-city children.

Mr. Bradford was a docent on the Constellation, and at Fort McHenry and the Flag House. He was a volunteer and director of Save Our Streams and a volunteer at the National Flag Day Foundation.

The former Homeland and Charlesbrooke resident had lived at Roland Park Place since 2004.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 3 at Brown Memorial Park Avenue United Presbyterian Church, 1316 Park Ave.

Surviving are his wife of 59 years, the former Nancy Doran, former middle school head at St. Paul's School for Girls; three sons, E. Standish Bradford III of Jamaica Plain, Mass., Peter Bradford of Baltimore and William Bradford of Wilbraham, Mass.; two daughters, Susan Schindler of Baltimore and Martha Allsopp of Sherborn, Mass.; and nine grandchildren.