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Obituaries

WILLIAM HOUDINI “DENNIE” BRADLEY

William Houdini Bradley, after a loving, inspirational, and rewarding life, died peacefully on December 19, 2019, in Savannah, Georgia surrounded by his family. Known affectionately as “Dennie,” he was 85 years old. A lifelong resident of Savannah, Dennie was born in Savannah, Georgia on January 20, 1934 to Hannah and Aaron Louis Bradley. He married Riette Hirsch Bradley on February 15, 1959 and together they built a wonderful life.

Dennie was a charismatic and dedicated man who loved his family, his country, Savannah, and his business. Dennie attended Commercial High School and upon graduation joined the Navy. He served on the Battleship Wisconsin BB64 and sailed the seven seas. After leaving the Navy, Dennie returned to Savannah to work with his father in the family business Bradley Lock and Key. Established in 1883, Dennie was the 3rd generation to take over what is the oldest continuously operating Savannah business, now run by his grandson Andrew Bradley, 5th generation.

Dennie loved his wife and family and sacrificed everything to provide for them. His love and relationship with his 60 plus year wife Riette, devoted mother and co-worker at the shop, is the kind of love story straight from Heaven. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for his darlin’ and the same for her until the very end. We should all strive to achieve such a marriage. They were their everythings and the love of each other’s’ lives.

Sending his sons through Savannah Country Day School, Tulane University, and Emory Medical and Law School and having them graduate from each without any debt tells you how hard Dennie worked 24/7, 365 days a year, running night and weekend calls well into his mid-seventies. Never complaining but always hardworking, Dennie was an extraordinary man. He would literally do anything for anyone at any time. He never met a stranger and he always took care of his customers – whether they could afford to pay or not. Ironically, the motto for his business was “we fix anything but a broken heart” – but Dennie was such an incredible person that he could even fix that. His death leaves the community of Savannah and his family with an irreplaceable void and many broken hearts.

Dennie was preceded in death by his brothers Eddie and Milton Bradley, and his daughter Karen Bradley.

Surviving are his wife of 60 years, Riette Hirsch Bradley; son Dr. Paul Bradley and daughter-in-law Mindy Bradley; son Mark Bradley and daughter-in-law Amy Bradley; grandchildren Adam and Holly Bradley, Dr. Amanda and Dr. Steven Kent, Caroline and Zachary Shultz, Dr. Brooke and Stuart Halpern, and Andrew Bradley; and great-grandson, Charles Bradley Kent. He is also survived by his sister Joy Bradley and several nieces and nephews.

The Bradley family would like to extend its huge gratitude and appreciation towards all of Dennie’s caregivers for the wonderful help and care provided over the last few years.

The funeral service will be held at 12 noon Sunday, December 22, 2019, at the graveside, conducted by Rabbi Avigdor Slatus of Congregation Bnai Brith Jacob.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations to Congregation B’nai Brith Jacob Synagogue – 5444 Abercorn Street, Savannah, Georgia 31405.

Online Condolences

  1. Myron Palefsky says:

    There are times when you don’t know what to say yet at the same time you could talk about a person for an hour or more. This is one of those times! I’ve known Dennie all my life and would often be taken into the shop by my father when I was just a little boy. Dennie was just a fascinating and wonderful person to know. He could be doing 10 or more things at the shop at the same time and “make it happen” perfectly. My prayers are with the family. Thanks Dennie for being part of my world!

  2. Ruth Markowitz says:

    Our love to all of the family. Dennie was a very special person.
    One of the most thoughtful people I have ever had the pleasure to know. He will always be missed.
    Ruth and Neal Markowitz

  3. Jay Weiner says:

    Mr Bradley will always have a special place in my heart. My father’s office was next to Bradley’s Lock and Key and dad and Mr Bradley were close friends. Dad took me there all the time to hear good stories of their past, watch him work his magic with the key machines and best of all dad would ask Mr Bradley when he was going to clean and organize the store. The best times with Mr Bradley were tourng his collections above the store.
    Rest in peace and fix any lock you want. My dad loved you and I hope you see him soon.

  4. J. David Carson, M.D. says:

    Dear Paul,
    Debbie saw Amy at the store today and Amy told her that your dad passed away this morning. I am so sorry for your loss. I felt great admiration and affection for your father, as I know my brother, Walter, did as well.

    Debbie and I will keep you and your entire family in our prayers. I pray for your father’s eternal rest and for God’s grace to bring comfort to all those who loved your father.
    David C

  5. Stephen and Stella Hefner says:

    Dear Paul
    Stella and I offer our condolences on you loss. May God comfort you in this time of grief. You have been my physician for many years and I appreciate your service.

    Stephen Hefner

  6. Vera Jennings says:

    My thoughts and prayers to the entire family. Mr Bradley was a kind and gentle soul whom our family will always remember. My mother (Vivian) was Karen’s caretaker for many years and Mr Bradley always had a smile. Savannah is a better place because of him. #untilwemeetagain

  7. Clark Namias says:

    May you rest in piece.ànd good sailing in calm seas. !!!

  8. Linda Scheller-Bradley says:

    I was fortunate to become part of this family several years ago when I married Eddie Bradley, Dennie’s brother. Whenever Eddie & I went into Savannah, we would stop by Bradley’s Lock & Key to visit with Dennie. It was apparent the love that those two felt for each other. Unfortunately, we lost Eddie a couple of years ago to Parkinson’s. Now, sadly, we have lost Dennie also. I’m sure Eddie was there along with Milton to help guide Dennie on his journey. My heart goes out to Riette, Paul, Mark, and the rest of the Bradley family for the loss of their dear Dennie.

  9. Sharon Hopkins Terry says:

    Your father was extraordinary! Please accept my deepest sympathy in your lost.

  10. Kathleen Collins says:

    Oh, Mr. Bradley, you will be missed. I grew up in the Historic District, and my parents both ran several small businesses there. It was always a happy day for me when I could accompany one of them to Bradley’s Lock & Key. I was fascinated to watch you know exactly where to find the right key, and file it to perfection. We never had to bring any back. Thank you for all you did to enrich our city, and our lives. ❤️

  11. Helen Miltiades says:

    I don’t where to begin. Mr. Bradley lived across the street from me for many years. He was always a shining light to me in the neighborhood and then later when I was an adult. I could go to his house, shop or call him on the phone with a problem, he took care of whatever dilemma I had.
    He was always gracious, taught me to how to unlock my little brother’s bedroom door, and gave me a tool for future use. When he left I remember him saying,” call me anytime”. He was such a wonderful neighbor and person. May his Memory Be Eternal.

  12. Downer and Ann Davis says:

    Dear Mark and family,
    We read with sadness of the death of your father. Please accept our condolences and know that our hearts and prayers are with you. We hope to see you back onTybee soon.

    With sympathy,
    Ann and Downer

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