Helen “Betty” Bradford

BERWICK – Betty Bradford passed away comfortably and surrounded by her family on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 just shy of her 91st birthday. Betty was born in Flint, Mich. on May 9,1929 to Karl and Theresa Hodgdon. Betty’s parents moved back to Eliot, Maine, where she grew up with her brother Karl. She lost her mother at a young age but was lucky to have a wonderful stepmother in Lydia Roberts Hodgdon. Betty was a model student. Not only was she the class president, she also graduated as valedictorian of Eliot High School. She was a leader of her time, attending a lab technician program at a teaching hospital in Boston at a time when only 4 percent of women went on to college. Following this combination of technical training and course work, she married her high school beau, Arthur Lilly. Once they were married, they moved to Berwick and started their family of four children: Pat (deceased), Bruce, Bobby, and Mary. Betty focused her attention on being a full time mom, taking her job seriously, teaching Sunday school, being a den mother and a band booster. Betty created a home where everyone in the neighborhood felt welcome. She tried her best to make sure her kids were behaving properly, though this was no easy task. She and Arthur were avid bridge players and both rose to the ranking of Gold Life Master, the highest achievable rank in the bridge world. Betty played bridge her entire life and was known to be a formidable opponent. At the age of 50, after going through a heartbreaking divorce, Betty reinvented herself, proving herself resilient by nature. She learned how to drive, bought a car, a home, and made a career for herself in the insurance industry. Betty was impeccable in her appearance, having an outfit for every occasion. When she was 68, she caught the eye of Robert Bradford, married him, and moved to Westport Island to start another new life. Betty immensely enjoyed becoming part of the Bradford family, immediately “adopting” his children and grandchildren. Together they accumulated quite a large family of 24 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren. Betty and Robert enjoyed 15 wonderful years together attending family events and traveling extensively to places like New Zealand, Costa Rica, the Amazon and China. Their home in Westport was always open to friends and family and many a good time was had (playing cards, boating, theme parties, and enjoying life) with lots of love and laughter. Betty continued to broaden her horizons by spending the cold Maine winter months in Zephyrhills, Fla. where she made new friends while continuing her passion for bridge, overcoming her opponents, and even traveling to nearby Tampa to find a bridge game worthy of her talents. Betty was always there for her children when they needed her. Never shy to venture an opinion on how they should act in any given situation, she would staunchly stand by them in times of their need. She was extremely proud of her family, often extolling the deeds of her children, stepchildren, their spouses, and grandchildren to anyone who would listen. She is best described as impeccable in her dress and in her behavior.Betty’s full life will be dearly missed and her reminders of right and wrong and how life should be led will ring in her large family’s ears for years to come.

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