HUBBARD - Friends and community leaders described Howard G. Bradley as a man of principle, honor and pride.
The former Hubbard Township police chief and trustee died Tuesday at the age of 70.
Bradley was sworn in as police chief in October 1989. Todd Coonce, the township's current chief, served as a patrolman under Bradley.
"He was actually just our second police chief after the inception of the township's department," Coonce explained. "When the township was looking for a new chief, he just blew everybody away with his qualifications. He had a lot to do with helping and growing the Hubbard Township Police Department and the community in general."
In particular, Bradley and Coonce worked closely together in reopening a high-profile murder case. The body of Timothy J. Badilo was found in the trunk of a burned car in February 1988. The initial cause of death was ruled as "undetermined" and, as time passed, the case grew cold.
"It was totally dormant for years," Coonce remembered.
Nearly three years later, though, new information reignited the investigation, and eventually Mark Badilo and Jeff McClure were found guilty of the murder.
"He permitted me to run with the information and that's what a good chief should do," Coonce said of Bradley. "We were a good team."
On Dec. 31, 1990, Bradley resigned as chief. A year later, he was named to the Hubbard Township Board of Trustees. Fellow trustee Fred Hanley said Bradley's honesty was his best trait.
"Howard was a dedicated public servant," Hanley said. "The reason he wasn't really the political type is because, if you asked him, he would tell you what his true feelings were. He was a real common sense guy. While maybe that wasn't the greatest thing in politics, it made him a very sincere, honest person."
When Coonce was named police chief in 1995, he cited Bradley as a valuable mentor.
"He was serving as trustee during that time and he helped a lot," Coonce said. "I was pretty green to that job at that time and he taught me quite a bit."
Bradley was born Aug. 19, 1942, in Youngstown, the son of Glenn Owen and Jeannette Sprankle Bradley. After graduating from Hubbard High School in 1960, he entered the military and remained there for 21 years. His service included three years in the U.S. Army and 17 years with the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations Unit (OSI).
"He was a dedicated patriot," Hanley said. "As a fellow veteran, I probably knew a lot of the details of Howard's life that the general public didn't. He spent time in the OSI and the CIA, and was involved in both Panama and Vietnam. He was a true patriot that would do anything for his country."
Following his time in the military, Bradley earned a master's degree in criminal justice from Youngstown State University.
"He was a wealth of knowledge and experience," Coonce said.
In 2002, Bradley finished his tenure as a Hubbard Township trustee and, soon after, became a tax administrator in McDonald. He remained in that position for the last 10 years.
McDonald Mayor Glenn Holmes commented on Bradley's professionalism and character.
"You want to talk about exemplary, that word applies to Howard," Holmes said. "I'm so glad he came here and worked with us. He was always very efficient and very fair."
Bradley is survived by a son, Edward; a daughter, Melissa, and four grandchildren.