Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Duane Bradley

March 31, 1958 - August 30, 2018
Grand Rapids, MI


Gathering with time for Public Sharing

Tuesday, September 4, 2018
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Creston Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 361-2613

The sharing time will begin at 6 PM, followed by a time of casual visiting.

Driving Directions


Friday, September 7, 2018
9:00 AM EDT
St. Bernard Catholic Church
5734 West 10 1/2 Mile Road
Irons, MI 49644


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

American Cancer Society, W. Michigan Area Service Ctr.
129 Jefferson Avenue SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 364-6121
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


One of a kind, Duane Bradley, "Dewey", was a wonderful man to know and love. With his outgoing, social and fun-loving nature, Duane shared the friendships of many. He enjoyed a wonderful sense of adventure and took in all life had to offer along the way. A man of strong values, he was a man of his word and lived by his moral compass. Through his strong work ethic, he took pride in what he did, and by way of example, he taught those around him well. Most importantly, Duane loved his family, and in them he found his greatest joy. For those who knew him best, Duane leaves a lasting legacy of friendship and love to all he encountered.

Although conservative in nature, the 1950s was a time when the American dream was alive and well. An all-time high, the minimum wage was $1.00 per hour, young radio listeners tuned in to Elvis, and drive-in theaters made for great summertime fun. In the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, business and industry was booming, and for Richard and Laura (Stygstra) Bradley, their days were made brighter when they welcomed the birth of the youngest member of their family, Duane Keith Bradley, born on March 31, 1958. He joined his older siblings Dan, Dawn and Dave in their family home on the West side of Grand Rapids in the area of Walker.

Having enjoyed a childhood typical of the times, Duane shared boyhood adventures with neighboring friends. Always quite social, throughout his youth he had loads of fun with friends and loved recalling great memories of “old Alpine”. All boy, as a kid his dad introduced him to fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, and dirt bikes, all of which Duane came to love for the rest of his days. Their family place in Irons, Michigan provided Duane with fond memories, as well. No matter the season, they often went there to take in the outdoors and all it had to offer. At the age of 13, Duane landed his first job working at a tire store. A diligent worker right from the start, Duane learned the value of hard work and finding time for play, too.

Duane attended Zinser Elementary and went on to graduate from Kenowa Hills High School. His first longtime job after high school was at APV where he helped build equipment for food processing and packaging. He would remain in this line of work through to his retirement. Naturally mechanical, Duane easily comprehended how things came apart and went back together which made him a great fit for his job. He always followed the plans yet would improvise when needed. Following his time at APV, Duane went to work for Imperial Design before completing his career at Egan Foods. Work was something Dewey loved and he made many friends along the way. In fact, if it were not for his health that forced him into retirement, he would have gladly remained working. He felt honored and proud when asked back to show some of the younger guys the ropes.

In his twenties, Duane met Diane Darling. Although he was actually friends with her older sister, in time he and Diane developed a meaningful relationship. They eventually married, and to their union they welcomed the births of Amanda and Jeremy. Life was good. They made their home in Sparta on approximately 15 acres and over time Duane seemed to mow more and more of it! Always handy, he built the pole barn, deck, a swing set for the kids and other things. As a family they enjoyed many trips to Florida often visiting Disney World and a trip out west. They also frequently camped in their popup camper during the summer, and spent nearly every weekend at the cottage. As a father Duane was quite stern but his children respected him. He never ceased in being there for them, even after he and Diane divorced after 15 years. He always made sure not to plan anything the days he had the kids, often treating them to something special even though it meant sacrificing himself to enjoy a good time with them.

Dewey finally was able to live year around at his cottage, which was always a dream of his. It was a simple home, but it was truly his slice of paradise! He learned to cook and was mainly a meat and potato's kind of guy, but he was especially proud of his chili. Dewey loved his pop. For a long while he drank diet Coke, then Mountain Dew before going on a lemonade kick. He continued his love for snowmobiling and hunting, and deer season was always a big thing for him. Never far from Duane’s side was his beloved dog, Rascal, a black lab who had been his companion for over 12 years. He loved that dog and spoiled it, too like his third child!

Easygoing, Dewey was well liked and admired. He easily built bonds with people which came easy for him because he was quick to faithfully visit the same places and became a regular. He was a talker and liked telling stories, but he was very open. No one ever doubted where they stood with him, good or bad. If he had a problem with something or an issue with someone, those involved knew it. Most appreciated Dewey's candor, but sometimes it did tend to rub some the wrong way. Not only was Duane friendly, but his great sense of humor was enjoyed by everyone in his company. With ways all his own, he could lighten the mood in the worst of situations. During some of his recent stays in the hospital, one could easily find him flirting with the nurses!

Retiring to his cottage and enjoying his regular places in Irons brought much contentment to Duane. All through his life he worked hard and lived rather frugally. He budgeted and saved, all while taking his role as provider seriously which was his main focus. Faith, family and friends were very important to Dewey. He regularly attended St. Bernard Catholic Church, and he was overjoyed by the opportunity to meet his first grandchild, Lillian who was the delight of Duane’s days. He was so proud of her and happy to take her on her first boat ride on his pontoon boat.

A man of character, integrity and resilience, Duane Bradley held fast to his values and word. A self-made man who focused on providing for those entrusted to his care, he took pride in all he did. Duane believed in doing things well; whatever one’s craft, it leaves a lasting mark long after we are gone.

While Duane struggled with health issues over the last ten years, the last three months found him confined to the hospital. He fought hard but realized he would never recover and live the way he wanted. After three months confined to the hospital, Duane's battle was over. Remembered fondly for his quick wit and friendly nature, Duane will be deeply missed and remembered by the family he loved and by those he encountered along life’s way.

Duane Keith Bradley, age 60, of Irons and formerly of Sparta, passed away August 30, 2018. He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Laura Bradley. Duane is survived by his children, Amanda (Matt) Baker and Jeremy Bradley; granddaughter, Lillian Baker; brothers, Dan (Judy) and Dave Bradley; sister, Dawn (Mike) Godisak; and many friends. His family will receive friends at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE on Tuesday, September 4 from 6-8 PM, with a time of sharing memories beginning at 6 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, September 7 at 9 AM at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Irons, Michigan. To read more about Duane's life, to share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.