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Barry Bradley Of Tampa and Author Of A Killer within Passed


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A Killer Within

Writer who chronicled cancer battle dies

Barry Bradley, a Times writer and editor, chronicled his battle with lung cancer in a series called "A Killer Within." He died today.

By Times Staff Writer

Published February 12, 2006


[Times photo: Lara Cerri]

Barry Bradley

Sign Barry Bradley's guestbook

A Killer Within archive


Barry Bradley, the St. Petersburg Times writer and editor who inspired countless readers with frank and insightful stories about his battle with lung cancer, died Sunday (Feb. 12, 2006) at Hospice House Woodside in Pinellas Park. He was 57.

In seven articles published under the title ""A Killer Within,'' Mr. Bradley wrote candidly about receiving the cancer diagnosis in December 2004, fighting the illness through grueling radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and ultimately seeking peace in his Christian faith and the support of family and friends.

He said he wrote the journals to speak for voiceless others who have endured cancer. They responded by the thousands, suggesting treatments and offering prayers. Dozens of cancer patients wrote to say that his stories reflected their own experience and made them feel less alone.

On Feb. 5, Mr. Bradley, a smoker for most of his life, published what he told readers would be his last story.

"If there's one thing that stands out over the past year, it is the number of blessings I have received from so many people. If you've read any of my previous stories you have seen how people have stopped me on the street, in the supermarket, in a restaurant, even getting on an elevator to tell me how much my stories have meant to them,'' he wrote.

"Many times they have asked me to come out to their car to talk to their wife, their mother or other relatives who are suffering from cancer in the hope that I could somehow cheer them up. I always took the time. And no matter how much of a blessing they claimed to receive, I can assure you the blessing I received was far greater.''

Barry Durant Bradley was born in Richmond, Va. on March 10, 1948. After serving in the Navy on the USS La Salle and the USS Saratoga, he returned to Orlando and studied at Valencia Community College and the University of Central Florida. He received his journalism degree from UCF in 1977.

He joined the Times staff in 1979 as a copy editor and weekend city editor. He later became the Times' first real weather reporter, studying atmospheric physics and geography at the University of South Florida, and devoting himself to storms and fires.

Bradley was teamed with projects reporter Stephen Nohlgren in 1985 to cover construction of the new Sunshine Skyway. The European design of segmented concrete was revolutionary and virtually untested in a project the size of the Skyway.

Ultimately, Bradley and Nohlgren saw the bridge as an architectural wonder, but not before combing state documents (uncovering a corruption case in Sarasota that led to a former mayor's indictment) and crawling over and under bridges for months.

"I seriously believe that the Skyway bridge is safer today partly because Nohlgren and I were out there every day, writing everything we could find,'' he said.

He left the Times in 1986 to join the Maddux Report, a business magazine where, as executive editor, he won numerous awards from the Florida Magazine Association. In the early 1990's he took up freelancing and wrote extensive reports for technology and construction companies.

He rejoined the Times in 2000 as a copy editor, later becoming metro rim news editor. He often worked as an assigning editor in the Clearwater and Palm Harbor offices. In the last weeks of his life, he received frequent visits at his home from a cadre of young copy editors who regarded him as a mentor and friend.

One editor he took under his wing, Yvonne Ngai, once wrote a note thanking him for demanding the best from her. ""I'm a better editor for it,'' she wrote. "So, thanks.''

Mr. Bradley is survived by his wife, Jean, of St. Petersburg, and his mother, Thalia Bradley, his brother, John Bradley, and sister, Traci Gouveia, all of Orlando. Private funeral services will be held at Bay Pines National Cemetery.

Donations in Mr. Bradley's memory may be made to The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, 5771 Roosevelt Boulevard, Clearwater, FL, 33760-3413. [Last modified February 12, 2006, 17:16:26]

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