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Rayford Austin Bradshaw

Rayford Austin Bradshaw


Rayford Austin Bradshaw, 87, of Walsh, IL, born on August 27, 1934 in Daniel, MS, passed away on Friday, March 11, 2022 at Freeburg Care Center in Freeburg, IL.

Rayford was a retired correctional officer from the state of Illinois at Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois.  He had also worked as a construction worker on First Baptist Church in Sparta, IL, and on the Kaskaskia River Bridge in Baldwin, IL.  Before that he had worked at a factory in Sparta, IL and at one in New Athens, IL.  In the Air Force, Rayford worked as an electrician on airplanes and as a radio operator at the Nato Base in Naples, Italy.

He met his wife, Melba, at Scott Air Force Base near O’Fallon, IL in February, 1955.  Four months later they married on a riverbank in Smith County, Mississippi.

Rayford was a member of Zion Lutheran Church, Walsh, IL and a former member of the Zion Lutheran Church Council.  He was a life-long hunter, fisherman and a member of the Plum Creek Sportsman’s Club in Sparta, IL.

Rayford loved crop-farming on his 120-acre farm and raising dogs, cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats over the years.  He especially loved hunting in his woods, particularly squirrels,  and fishing in the ponds/creeks on his property.  He also enjoyed gardening, mostly raising corn and tomatoes.

He was preceded in death by his wife Melba Arlene (nee Gardiner) Bradshaw, his parents Ervin Miller and Vesta Alma (nee McNeece) Bradshaw, two older brothers and three older sisters, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Rayford is survived by five children – Theresa (Carl) Forbis of New Braunfels, TX; Stephen (Susan) Bradshaw of Sparta, IL; Brian (Laura) Bradshaw of Walsh, IL; William (Chris) Bradshaw of Port Byron, IL; and Wayne (Kellie) Bradshaw of Red Bud, IL; 28 grandchildren and 29 Great-grandchildren.

Condolences may be expressed to the family at

Memorial contributions may be made to Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Fairview Baptist Church Cemetery, or Zion Lutheran Church Ladies Aid.

A visitation for Mr. Bradshaw will be held at Calvary Baptist Church in Sparta, IL on Friday, March 18, 2022 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Funeral services will begin at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Tim McIntyre officiating. Interment will be held at Fairview Baptist Church Cemetery in Sparta, IL.  Military honors will be conducted by the Air Force Funeral Honor Detail.

Heil-Schuessler & Sinn Funeral Home in Sparta, IL is in charge of arrangements

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  1. MARLA CUSHMAN says:

    I worked with Ray at Menard Psych and he became a dear friend. He was always so friendly. Super guy.


  1. I worked with Ray at Menard Psych and he became a dear friend. He was always so friendly. Super guy.

    • Thank you for your comments. The family appreciates them.


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