Martin J. Bradley

  Oct. 1, 1893      Jan. 10, l978 

by Martin J. Bradley, Jr., Tech 1938



    We called him Dad, others Mr. Bradley, Brad, Martin, Mart, that big teacher in the Wood Shop, and I'm sure many other names by tardy students and boys who had their dice games broken up by him.  Also, he was known as Jungle Jim, or JJ for short.

   The first day of the new school year the faculty table in the cafeteria found the teachers renewing acquaintances and telling of their summer vacation experiences.  If a new teacher was assigned to Tech, this was the time for introductions.  Once, a newcomer asked, "Are you the Mr. Bradley they call Jungle Jim?"  The answer was yes, and she asked, "How did you get the name?"

    Dad told her the source was a new comic strip that started in "The Commercial Appeal" in 1935 called "Jungle Jim Bradley."  A couple of Tech students who were carriers of the newspaper christened him with the nickname.  I believe these two were Vic Huddleston and Hamp Morrison. After this explanation, one of our very popular and humorous teachers, Mayo Linder said, "Tain't so.  If you want to know how he got the name, watch him swing on the overhead pipes in the shop corridor when school lets out."

    Memphis Technical High School opened in September 1928.  Dad came to the new school after teaching for fourteen years in the Thornton, Arkansas high school.  Principal James L. Highsaw appointed Bradley the campus policeman soon as the school opened.  At six feet four inches tall, and weighing two-hundred and fifty pounds, he could handle the job.  Among the duties; stop the fights, break up the dice games and cite tardy students.

    One of the first dice games broken up set the course for the many that followed.  Three boys shooting "dice" or "craps" were taken to the principal's office by Bradley.  The dice and money were placed on  Highsaw's desk and Bradley gave him the particulars.  "Mr. Highsaw, these boys were shooting dice in the second floor boys' toilet room."

     Mr. Highsaw really let'em have it.  "You young scalawags, what do you mean by desecrating the  great and  glorious name of this wonderful educational institution by playing that dastardly game of craps?"

    Highsaw asked the first boy, "Son, were you playing craps?".   

    "No sir,  Mr. Highsaw.  I went in there for relief."

    To the second student, "How about you, son?"

    "No sir, Mr. Highsaw, I was in there looking for a friend of mine."

    To the third, "And you, son?"

    "No sir, Mr. Highsaw, I was standing there watching."

    Mr. Highsaw said, "Now Mr. Bradley, I know these lads wouldn't lie to me.  Then to the students, "You boys get to your homerooms before the tardy bell rings."

    I don't think Dad told this to anyone until after he retired in 1956.  In those days jobs were in jeopardy, you did not argue nor step on any toes.  Did Highsaw ever realize the inference of his statement?  That the students wouldn't lie to him but the teacher would?

    Crap shooters were never taken to the principal's office again by Bradley.  He would walk into a game, pick up the dice and walk out.  He had a collection of dice that would boggle your mind.  He told the students he planned to make a coffee or end table by inlaying the dice into the top.  The table was never built but Bradley's grandchildren spent many hours building various objects with the dice.

     Retirement in 1956 brought an end to his forty-two years of teaching.  He and Mother moved to a home at the foot of the Boston Mountains in Western Arkansas.  This was on Highway 71 halfway betrween Ft. Smith and Fayetteville.  They enjoyed attending craft shows and fairs.  He would load his lathe into the back of the station wagon and set it up at a fair.  He would demonstrate the art of wood turning, all the time telling "tall tales."

    In July of 1966, I and my two sisters, Mary and Lillian, and many other family members met in the mountains to celebrate Mother's and Dad's Golden Wedding anniversary.  Two and a half months later we returned for Mother's' funeral.

    Dad stayed on his mountain until September 1977, then he moved to San Antonio, Texas to be with Lillian and her family, then to Cincinnati, Ohio with daughter Mary and her family until January 1978.  He passed away there on January 10th.  He was laid to rest with Mother in Vaught Cemetery near Mountainburg, Arkansas.  We followed his request for the inscription on the headstone:  "Fifty Years of LIfe Together, Still Side by Side."




-Henry Brooks Adams

- Martin J. "Buster" Bradley, Jr., July 200

Martin J. Bradley, Jr
Tech 1938