Former longtime resident of Franklin Park, Mary (Madry) Bradof, 98, passed away peacefully on January 21, 2020, in Boise, ID. Mary was a loving mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend.
Born in Bellevue, Michigan, to John and Katharine (Dlugosz) Madry on February 24, 1921, Mary, one of 8 children, left home at age 14 to help support the family. She had a strong work ethic, was devoted to her family, and loved people.
She met her future husband, George Bradof, while working at the Battle Creek Bakery in 1941. George enlisted in WWII and served with the 330th Army Engineer Regiment assigned to construct the Burma-Lido Road from 1942-1945. During that time, Mary helped the war effort by working at the Cadillac plant in Detroit, MI, building crankshafts for tanks. A real Rosie the Riveter!
She married George in February 1945 in Charlotte, MI, and moved to Franklin Park, IL, just outside Chicago. Together they traveled across the US and Canada staying several weeks at each location while George installed huge bakery ovens. Mary’s dad called her a “gypsy” because she loved to travel and was always ready to hit the road. When they started a family they settled down. Their two daughters brought a special joy to Mary’s life. She was the most amazing Mom. She loved being involved as a Girl Scout leader, sewing clothes for her girls, and baking special treats. She was funny, and FUN, and always made people laugh.
She worked as a waitress at O’Hare Airport for many years, and loved to banter with her customers. Later, she worked at the US Post Office in River Grove, IL.
Mary expressed her love through baking and cooking There was always something delicious on the stove. Walking in her door on Hawthorne Street, you would be met with a warm welcome—Come In, Come in! There would be lots of hugs, a delightful old-fashioned meal, and a fancy table set just for you. Mary had a knack for making everyone feel loved and special.
Before dessert, you could expect a fierce game of cards. Shanghai Rummy, was her favorite game. Betting a nickel a hand, the competition was brutal.
This was Mary at her best: inviting three young college students from Sweden that she met at O’Hare, home for a “Welcome to the USA” dinner (still friends 50 years later); taking homemade Chicken Soup or Apple Pie to a friend; or driving 20 hours to NJ to take care of her grandkids. Giving to others was one of the true joys in her life. She had a great sense of humor and would send lots of off-color jokes to friends to make them laugh.
Later, Mary was blessed with three grandchildren, who she loved dearly. She especially loved spoiling them when their parents left on vacation.
In 2001, her family started a foundation in her name to honor her lifetime of giving to others in small ways. The Mary Bradof Foundation has awarded many grants to charitable causes since its inception.
Mary was independent and always “in charge.” Only a stroke at age 94, and vascular dementia, had the power to stop her, but it never took away her fierce determination to live on her terms.
So many people deserve the thanks and gratitude of her family. All of the loving cousins and friends who sent her cards and notes—Thank You. You brightened her days! The wonderful staff at Brooklyn House, Boise, cared for her with kindness, grace, and dignity. Keystone Hospice helped her make the final journey with such compassion. We so appreciate the loving work they do.
Mary is survived by her daughters Mary Kay (Richard) Link of Meridian, ID and Ruth (Robert) Blaha of Eagle, ID; and by three grand-children Gayle (Jeremy) Garza, Dennis Link, and Sue (Nick) Strickland; and two great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, George, her parents, and all her siblings: Theodore Madry, Charles Madry, Roman Madry, Sophie Mykala, Louie Madry, Wanda Buncich, and John Madry Jr., and their spouses.
A Memorial Mass will be at St. Ann Catholic Church in Bellevue, MI, on Saturday, August 14, 2021, at 11am.
A memorial service will be held at Sax Tiedemann Funeral Home in Franklin Park, IL, on Sunday, August 15, 2021, at 1:00pm.
Private burial will be at Eden Cemetery, Schiller Park, IL.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity.