Wayne Bradburn

Amy and I lost a dear friend today. Wayne Bradburn died at 6:30 a.m. after a brave fight with cancer.

Wayne managed the Jacksonville Center when we opened Blue Ridge Creative there in 2004 as one of the original anchor tenants. He was a fun-loving, caring man who hugged every woman he met. He quickly became a friend and remained one after we closed the business and left the center at the end of 2006.

When he came by Blue Ridge Muse several months back with the news of his cancer, he faced the disease with his trademark optimism.

Wayne usually had a smile on his face and a good word to say. When he retired from The Jacksonville Center, the organization lost a valuable resource and an excellent spokesman.

We will miss him. We will miss him a lot.

Amy and I lost a dear friend today. Wayne Bradburn died at 6:30 a.m. after a brave fight with cancer.

Wayne managed the Jacksonville Center when we opened Blue Ridge Creative there in 2004 as one of the original anchor tenants. He was a fun-loving, caring man who hugged every woman he met. He quickly became a friend and remained one after we closed the business and left the center at the end of 2006.

When he came by Blue Ridge Muse several months back with the news of his cancer, he faced the disease with his trademark optimism.

Wayne usually had a smile on his face and a good word to say. When he retired from The Jacksonville Center, the organization lost a valuable resource and an excellent spokesman.

We will miss him. We will miss him a lot.

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4 Responses

  1. Wayne Bradburn will always be one of our eternal heroes.

    We first met him in October of 1984, when we moved to Floyd so Billy could work at the ethanol co-op.

    The scene was pretty chaotic — the plant had just burned to the ground, and everyone was working on insurance and cleanup and reopening the anhydrous column and all that stuff.

    Billy started helping with records and got put in an office with this tall skinny guy who spent a lot of his time on the phone talking about some mysterious project involving 765 kilovolts. As the weeks went by, and we got to know each other better, he realized that Wayne was fighting what he called “the last dinosaur”” — the Appalachian Power 765 kilovolt power line that now stretches out to the east of Floyd.

    His idea was to involve everyone, from young people to elderly, in opposing the power line, and he was very very good at it. People gravitated to Wayne as if he were a magnet.

    We were constantly amazed at Wayne’s absolutely buoyant demeanor. Nothing ever got him down. Everyone was always “looking good.”

    Billy remembers once when he and Steven Byler were covered with black muck, cleaning out some part of the burned up old building, and Wayne drove by and yelled out the window — “Looking good, boys! ” You know, he might have been kidding, but they couldnt quite tell.

    We’d see him at a summer picnic around Solstice time, and he’d say, Man, we are ALL looking good. We are so well preserved. And he wasnt kidding. We did look good. For a while there, at least.

    We worked with Wayne at the Census 2000 office in Radford, and it was a tremendous experience to see him lifting everyone’s spirits while the bureaucracy did the exact reverse. And the amazing part was that he was stronger than the bureaucracy. As much as it got people down, Wayne was able to reverse that process. It was his special magic, to get people to believe in themselves.

    His time at the Jacksonville Center went by in a similar way. He was generous with people, and he had absolutely no arrogance about him. He did not HAVE to be the center of the party, but so often, he just was. As an organizer, a captain of culture and a damn good friend, Wayne was unlike anyone we’ve ever met.

    Yes, yes. He wasnt perfect. When we do find an absolutely perfect human being we’ll be sure to let you know.

    But he was a perfect friend, and a perfect gentleman, and he was perfectly honest and, to tell you the truth, he was perfectly amazing.

    We sure are going to miss him. A lot. Our very deepest condolences go out to Vera, Ben, Mara and the rest of his wonderful family for their terrible loss, and our hopes for a great reunion at some sunny Solstice, someday.

    He’ll probably see us across the crowd, and wave and shout, Man you guys are lookin’ good.

    And we will be.

    Billy Kovarik & Linda Burton

    (Billy is in London, Ontario, and could not attend the services today, and is feeling very remorseful. )

  2. Im very shocked to hear about Wayne he was one of the grandest people you would ever meet I worked with WAYNE many years ago at Prillaman in Martinsville I had the oppurtunity to work with a great man that taught me alot he will be missed

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