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Elsa Hotchkiss Bradford, 80, a descendent of early Cheshire settler Samuel Hotchkiss, died peacefully at home on Sunday. She was a resident of Meriden and Nantucket, Mass.
Mrs. Bradford was the daughter of the late Paul Tyler and Clara Kurtz Hotchkiss of Cheshire, and the widow of Samuel Bradford of Meriden.
A graduate of Vassar College, Mrs. Bradford was a director of the Wadsworth
Atheneum Museum of Art prior to marriage. After her husband’s untimely death in 1975, she assumed his position as president of Connecticut Electric Equipment Co., a family concern founded in 1898.
With only a background in art history, Mrs. Bradford was placed into a leadership position in a male-dominated industry, yet, under her guidance, the company thrived. She immersed herself in her new role as a businesswoman, and lobbied for business interest at the State Capitol.
In addition, she was president of the Medway Business Park Association, and a director of the Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association where she also chaired the Small Business Advisory Council. In 1988, her achievements were highlighted when she was named Connecticut’s Small Business Person of the Year.
Mrs. Bradford, whose Meriden address was Bradford Hill, was an active community leader in Connecticut. In honor of her efforts and contributions, she was inducted into the Meriden Hall of Fame. A pioneer, she served as the first female president of both The Greater Meriden Chamber of Commerce and the Boys & Girls Club of Meriden. She also served on the board of directors of the Meriden-Wallingford Hospital, Meriden YMCA, The Meriden and Wallingford United Way, Meriden Economic Development Corporation, Connecticut Rehabilitation Center, and the American Silver Museum.
One of her most cherished involvements was serving on the Scholarship Committee for the Meriden Foundation where she interviewed teenage applicants for college grants. Her other activities included serving as a member of the American Association of University Women, and as a trustee and deacon of the First Congregational Church of Cheshire, where she was a lifelong member.
A competitive bridge player, Mrs. Bradford was a member of the Nantucket Yacht Club and the Sankaty Head Golf and Beach Club, Nantucket, Quinnipiac Club, New Haven, and the Farms Country Club, Wallingford. One of her greatest passions was traveling, and she visited over 110 countries. Most recently she traveled to Easter Island.
She was predeceased by longtime companion, George A. Smith, and is survived by her daughter, Alicia Bradford, of Nantucket; her son, Samuel Bradford II, his wife, Andrea; and her beloved granddaughters, Stephanie, Sarah, and Elisabeth, of Madison, Conn.
A Funeral Service will be held on Monday, July 2 at 2:00 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Cheshire, 111 Church Drive.
Burial will be held at the convenience of the family and there are no calling hours. A celebration of her life will be held on Nantucket in August.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her honor to the Boys & Girls Club of Meriden, 15 Lincoln Street, Meriden, CT 06451, or to the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, 118 Cliff Road, Nantucket, MA 02554.
The Alderson Funeral Home of Cheshire, 615 S. Main St. is assisting with arrangements. For online condolences, to light a candle or share a story, please visit www.aldersonfuneralhomes.com.