L. Bradford Crafts

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CANTON – L. Bradford Crafts, 89, a former resident of North Jay, died Thursday, July 26, at the Victorian Villa Rehabilitation Center, where he has resided since 2004.

He was born on June 2, 1918, in Jay, the son of Leroy N. and Nellie (Wing) Crafts. He was a graduate of Jay High School, Class of 1936, and attended Bliss Business College in Lewiston, graduating in 1938.

On Aug. 10, 1940, he married Virginia Voter. She passed away on April 8, 2002. Brad worked for several years as a bookkeeper for the former Allen Shoe Co. of Auburn, and the Wilton Woolen Mill before spending more that 25 years at IP as a paper tester and in the public relations department.

He worked as editor of the Wilton Times and later became a freelance photographer for the Lewiston Daily Sun, now known as the Sun Journal.

He was the driving force in developing the Jay Firemen’s Museum, which is dedicated in his name. He was also instrumental in organizing the Franklin County Firemen’s Association, serving as secretary for 30 years, as well as serving as secretary/treasurer for the Jay Fire Department for more than 52 years. He served as a board member of the North Jay Water District for 56 years.

He was considered a true historian and a person everyone sought out for his vast knowledge. He has done extensive research and written the history of the paper industry and the town of Jay. He has a collection of Hugh Chisholm postcards and playing cards that were sold throughout the world.

He was a member of the Franklin County Fish & Game, Franklin Lodge K of P, Wilton IOOF (Odd Fellows), Jay Historical Society, Jay Fire Department, Franklin County Firemen’s Association, Maine State Federation of Firefighters, where he served as Franklin County vice president for more than 10 years, the North Jay Grange and the North Jay Water District.

During his years as a photographer, his large collection of glass plate negatives provide historical information for people and places in Franklin and Androscoggin counties. He produced several slide programs from them. He has an extensive collection of maps and documents dating back to the early 1800s in Jay.

He also did extensive research on the granite quarries in North Jay and throughout Maine. He was the recipient of the Community Citizen of the Year Award in 2004 presented by the North Jay Grange and the Remember ME Award in 2005 from the state of Maine.

He is survived by three children, Charles Crafts, and his wife, Juanita, of Livermore, Patty Ridley of Wilton and Ann B. Crafts of North Jay; a sister, Ruth Lodge of Gorham; grandchildren, Bruce Ridley, and his wife, Colleen, of Tomahawk, Wis., Ronnie Ridley, and his wife, Sherry, of North Jay, Jason Crafts, and his wife, Julie, of Jay, Alan Levesque of North Jay and Andy Levesque of Poland; great-grandchildren, Matthew, Marcus, Katie and Corey Ridley, Sarah and Emma Crafts and Whitney and Bailey Levesque; a great-great-grandchild, Micah Ridley; and nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents; his wife, Virginia; a sister, Adeline Lodge; a great-grandson, Bradley T. Crafts; and a son-in-law, Arthur Ridley.

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