A historical connection with the pioneer days of the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association and provincial development was severed with the passing of honorary life member N.H. Bradley, on October 15, 1991 in St. Petersburg, Florida after a short illness at the age of ninety-nine years and seven months. His heart stopped beating and this great life was over.
Nicholas Hilburn Bradley (Hilburn to his family, Nick or Brad to friends and colleagues) was born on March 27, 1892 at a farm home on NE1/4, Sec. 26, Tp. 19, Rge. 29, W4M, in the Tongue Creek district North of High River; Northwest Territories. His family took up a homestead on Sec. 10, Tp. 24, Rge. 2, W5M (adjacent to the present Calgary city limits along 17th Avenue SW). Brad attended local schools and high school in Calgary. He learned the value of hard work at farm chores and delivering farm produce to the growing city.
Mr. Bradley is survived by two granddaughters and four great grandchildren from his own family. Three sons, and wife, Sade, predeceased him prior to his retirement from work and move to Florida. His second wife, Vera, passed away several years ago in Florida.
His professional development began with enrolment at McGill University in Montreal in 1915 to study science and engineering. Summers were occupied with engineering or land surveys, and on December 21, 1920. Brad joined the Association of Professional Engineers of Alberta. Almost 42 years later, he was designated a life member of APEGGA on September 20, 1962. After leaving McGill, he continued in land surveying and fulfilled his articles to Homer P. Keith, ALS. Brad was commissioned as a member of the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association on November 24, 1921 as number 120. He maintained his interest in the Association and was awarded a life membership in April 1976.
Brad's involvement with the Association included service on Council in 1934, 1935 and 1936. He served as vice-president in 1937 and his presidency in 1938 ended with the annual general meeting on January 17, 1939. A review of the minutes indicated a total meeting expense of $109.35 that included the banquet, band and cigars for the members. Times were hard and the Association was concerned with By-law No.4, bringing in a revised tariff. Brad's greatest contribution to the Association was his consistent support of the surveying profession during his 38 years as a district engineer.
He believed in the philosophy of monument preservation and the integrity of the survey system. Brad had many kind words of encouragement for surveyors in southern Alberta during difficult economic times.
Brad's technical field experience began after high school graduation as a chainman for subdivision surveys in the City of Calgary. His summers during his university years were in service with W.H. Waddell, ALS, A.E. Glover, DLS, S.E. Beagh, PLS, and after university with Homer P. Keith. Work in the Maritimes and Quebec involved land and railway location surveys. After McGill he articled to Homer P. Keith and was employed on township and road diversion surveys throughout Alberta.
On April 19, 1921, he was appointed to Peace River as district surveyor and conducted township surveys along the Peace and Athabasca rivers. Opportunity knocked when Homer P. Keith was transferred from Lethbridge to Edmonton to assume the position of chief construction engineer with Public Works. Brad accepted a transfer to Lethbridge on April 1, 1924 as District Engineer and Surveyor. The Main Highways Division of Public Works became the Department of Highways as the roadway systems across Alberta expanded and Brad's career centred on engineering. Retirement on March 31, 1962 after 40 years of public service brought with it a new challenge in the private sector as an engineering and surveying consultant under the name of N.H. Bradley and Associates. Brad enjoyed the private sector environment and carried on the firm until 1968.
His surveying skills were passed on to the engineering crews under his supervision as district engineer. Brad's tenure in Lethbridge spanned a massive development in the highways and secondary road systems that included all weather, constant-speed highways, and passable district roads. The effect of Southern Alberta blizzards was minimized, his consistent interest in the welfare of the public through highway maintenance and development earned Brad a nomination for a Canadian Centennial Medal in 1967. His engineering interest did not diminish his interest in surveying; he had personally met or was aware of almost every rural landholder in his area. An inquiry as to the location of someone's land would yield an instant legal description, some comment on the available evidence, and a reference to access from a known town.
Family life for Brad in Lethbridge had its times of sorrow and tragedy. All three sons predeceased their parents, the eldest Johnathon Riley was lost as a member of the armed forces in the Second World War. The second oldest, Hilburn was killed in an industrial accident in Lethbridge, third son Roy Louis died of natural causes in his early teens. His wife Sade, mother of his three sons and constant companion for 44 years, died of a stroke in August of 1965. Brad's faith never wavered during these times; consistent optimism and kindness to all were signs of his great strength of character.
Brad travelled for several years after retirement and finally put down roots for retirement at the Majestic Towers in St. Petersburg, a retirement home for seniors. There he remarried; his second wife, Vera, died several years ago.
Nicholas Hilburn Bradley's ashes are interred in the Lethbridge Cemetery beside his wife Sade. Brad was the ultimate professional, providing his technical and personal skills to community with dedication and humility.