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Margaret (Molly) Sanderson Bradshaw of Grand Rapids, Michigan, died on July 3, 2019. She was 92 years old.
Molly was born on July 2, 1927 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Dorothy and James Sanderson. She is survived by her brother Henry Sanderson; children Miles Fredenburg, Dorothy Bradshaw, Lucy Bradshaw, Charlotte Bradshaw; grandchildren Samuel Bradshaw, Alexandra and Sofia Suarez, and numerous beloved cousins, nieces and nephews. Molly was preceded in death by her husband, Conrad (Brad) Bradshaw, and sister, Nancy Firth.
Molly graduated from Vassar College in 1947, and afterwards worked in New York City on development of the tuberculosis vaccine and other projects. She continued working in research and development at Westinghouse and UpJohn, until she married Brad in 1959.
Molly devoted herself to her family, and also became a community force in Grand Rapids, supporting the arts and conservation efforts in western Michigan. She was integrally involved in the evolution of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the establishment of the Grand Rapids Art Festival, and the preservation of Saugatuck Dunes State Park. Her most beloved project was working with the Land Conservancy of West Michigan to purchase and preserve Saul Lake Bog in Kent County. She helped build the boardwalk and viewing platforms at the preserve, and continued to mow and maintain the trails into her early 80s. Whenever her children and grandchildren visited, a trip to the bog was in order.
Molly was a lifelong learner, ever curious and open to upending her understandings of the world to take in new viewpoints and information. She loved to travel, near and far. Molly and Brad spent many winters in Tucson, Arizona, where Molly became intimately familiar with the flora and fauna of Catalina State Park. She taught her children and grandchildren how to lasso lizards, avoid rattlesnakes, and bushwhack (never be afraid to retrace your steps). She was a passionate birder, wherever she went. Molly was also a collector, primarily of art and crows. Her acquisitions were never only about the objects themselves, but about the stories and people who made them. She could never resist a piece that captured just the right feel of water, or the rapacious tilt of a crow’s head.
The family wishes to especially thank the ladies in Molly’s support group, who were with her through Brad’s illness and death, and then continued on to be her dearest friends. You know who you are.
An open house celebration of Molly’s life will be held on Wednesday, July 24th, between 3-6pm at the Roselle Park Resource Building located at 1010 Grand River Drive in Ada, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Grand Rapids Art Museum, or the Land Conservancy of West Michigan.
Grand Rapids Community Foundation
185 Oakes St. S.W., Grand Rapids MI 49503
Grand Rapids Art Museum
10 Monroe Center St. N.W., Grand Rapids MI 49503
Land Conservancy of W. Michigan