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Leo Melvin Bradshaw was born on March 28, 1926, in Norwood, Mo., the son of William Henry and Nettie Ethridge Bradshaw. Leo departed this life at his home with his loving wife, Ruth, by his side on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, at the age of 86 years, 6 months, and 15 days.
In the era of large families, Leo was one of 12 children spending his youth in the Norwood community and attended the Norwood School. It was a well-known area secret, if one needed mechanical repair or just a little tuning, they could find it at the Bradshaw residence. Many wrenches were turned in the family garage and many more in the street out front. The Bradshaw’s were known and still are known as some of the best mechanics around. Leo never found a wrench that would not fit in his hand.
On Oct. 26, 1944, he began serving his country and was inducted into the Army through Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Mo. He completed his basic training in Fort Hood, Texas, and was assigned to the 162nd infantry-41st Division, spending his next 15 months of service in the Asiatic Pacific Theater. During the course of his service he felt the sands of many different lands. In October 1946, Leo was honorably discharged from the United States Army and returned home.
On Nov. 15, 1947, after a long courtship, Leo was united in marriage to Ruth Ryan. Two daughters were born to this union. For the next two years they made their home in the Norwood community.
Leo and Ruth then moved to Kansas City and made their home there for the next 13 years. While in Kansas City, Leo was employed by General Motors on the automotive line and at the Lockwood Foreign Motors Dealership as a mechanic. Leo loved those Volkswagens.
The family then moved back to the Norwood community. For a number of years, Leo worked as a mechanic in the Macomb, Mo., area. He also sold cars to provide for his family. In the late 60s, Leo built his own garage in Norwood, where he continued working as a mechanic. Leo also operated an agricultural spreader truck, hauling lime and fertilize, supplying farmers and road construction companies with needed products.
In 1973, Leo began campaigning for the position of Sheriff in Wright County. In 1976, he was elected by the citizens of the county to perform those duties. Leo and Ruth moved to Hartville and on Jan. 1, 1977, he reported for duty. Leo was passionate about the office, overcoming many obstacles, trials, and tribulations in those early years. He was proud to serve and treated everyone the same, big or small, high or low, and he never failed to respond. Leo was instrumental in fighting for all the citizens of Wright County. During his career he was involved in numerous investigations including thefts, assaults, and homicides. Also, through his observations and awareness, he was able to assist the Missouri State Highway Patrol with information in locating a subject wanted for the murder of a Missouri State Trooper.
After completing years of service to the citizens of Wright County, he physically retired on Dec. 31, 1992. Leo never mentally retired from law enforcement and continued to be active and involved in the county, lending advice. Leo always took a firm stance and believed right was right and would not waiver from that.
After his retirement, he began fulltime farming, raising beef cattle in the Norwood community. Leo accepted Christ as his Savior and at the time of his death, he was attending Victory Hill Church. He enjoyed attending the men’s fellowship breakfast at the Norwood Assembly of God church.
He enjoyed fishing, bird hunting, and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. Many days were spent in his garage working and giving advice on auto mechanics to his family, baiting hooks at his favorite fishing hole on the banks of the Gasconade River, and at the family fishing pond.
Besides his parents, Leo was preceded in death by six brothers, Jack, Howard, R.A. “Demer”, Dan, and Norman “Tuffy” Bradshaw, and one infant brother; four sisters, Myrtle Moles Stanley, Lola Mae Schudy, Wilma Jean Whitely, and an infant sister, Melba Sue Bradshaw.
Leo is survived by his loving wife, Ruth Bradshaw, of the home; two daughters, Teresa Chadwell and her husband, Joe, of Norwood, Mo., and Leah Vaughan of Mansfield, Mo.; seven grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and by one brother who is the only surviving member of the Henry Bradshaw family, James Bradshaw, of Norwood; his special caregivers, Shirley Cottengim and Gale Robertson; as well as a host of other relatives and friends.
Funeral services for Leo Bradshaw were held on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 at 2 p.m. in the Union Grove Caudle Church at Norwood, Mo. Song selections were, “Amazing Grace”, and “Family Reunion”, sung by Becky Saylor and Ronnie Kelly. Pallbearers were Ryan Vaughan, Clint Vaughan, Mark Vaughan, Shawn Chadwell, Dustin Chadwell, Shane Chadwell, Stacey McDaris, and Levi McDaris. Honorary Pallbearers were Joe Chadwell and Harold Vaughan.
Full military honors were given at the cemetery by the American Legion Post 30, and The Lima Burial Detail Team with Jared Moore serving as bugler. Burial was in the Thomas Cemetery, Norwood, Mo.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Retherford Cemetery and Thomas Cemetery in care of the funeral home.
Online condolences can be made at www.craighurttfuneral home.com.