Long-time Harrison Hospital administrator dead from Alzheimer's

Robert W. Bradley, a man who spent 30 years guiding Harrison Hospital through major changes, died Saturday of Alzheimer’s disease, and complications, at Harbor House in Poulsbo.

He was 74.

He was president and chief executive officer at Harrison from 1961 to 1991, when he retired.

“He oversaw the move of the hospital in the mid ’60s, which set the stage for growth both here (in Bremerton) and at our other campuses in Silverdale and Port Orchard,” current President/CEO Dave Gitch said. “I came in as he was retiring, and was the beneficiary of the solid foundation he set up.”

Bradley was born Dec. 9, 1927 in Lyman, Skagit County, to Roscoe and Willa Mae (Brown) Bradley. He graduated from Sedro-Woolley High in 1945 and from the University of Washington 10 years later.

He graduated from the UW in just three years instead of the usual four, said his widow, Doris. “He was Phi Beta Kappa.” She commented it was ironic that a man with such a brilliant mind would succumb to something such as Alzheimer’s.

He was in the Navy two separate tours — the very end of World War II and its aftermath 1945 to 1948, and 1951 to 1952.

Although his second tour was during the Korean Conflict, he was stationed in French Morocco, his widow, Doris Bradley said.

It was on Dec. 19, 1948, that he married then Doris Hiserote in Birdsview, Wash.

The hospital at the UW was just being built when he worked there for about five years in the early 1950s, she said. He arrived to take over at Harrison Hospital in 1961, when it was still housed in an older structure in Bremerton. The hospital had 120 beds, about 200 employees and an annual budget of $2 million.

During his tenure, the hospital moved to its present location in 1965. When he retired, the hospital had 1,300 employees, 297 beds and a budget of about $70 million.

Bradley was a member of the Washington State Hospital Association, the American Council of Healthcare Executives, United Way, Kitsap Planning Council and similar organizations.

He was appointed to the advisory panel of the State Hospital Commission. He was at one time president of the Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, and was a member of the Navy League, Doris Bradley said.

He was a member of First Baptist Church in Bremerton, but had not attended in the last few years, she said.

He is survived by his wife, Doris, of Bremerton; a son, Robert M. Bradley of Bremerton; and three daughters, Marcia Case, Teresa Bair and Laura Jager, of Bremerton.

He is also survived by a stepbrother, John Beck of Edmonds; a half-sister, Dorothy Daves of Concrete; two stepsisters, Nadine White of Keizer, Ore. and Irma Whitelock of Mount Vernon; a grandson, Jesse Bair of Bremerton; and three granddaughters, Allison and Kristen Jager and Hannah Bradley, all of Bremerton.

Three family members preceded in him death: a brother, Melvin Bradley; half-brother, Camero Bradley; and stepbrother, Robert Beck.

On Jan. 4 at 11 a.m., there will be a memorial service at Miller-Woodlawn Funeral Home. After cremation, interment will be at Miller-Woodlawn Memorial Park.

Donations can be made to the Harrison Health Foundation, The Alzheimer’s Association or Hospice of Kitsap County.

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