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Kayland Zane Bradford

February 9, 1933 ~ February 4, 2019 (age 85)

Kayland  Zane Bradford (Brad), age 85 passed away on  February 4, 2019 in  Flower Mound, Texas, of pancreatic cancer.  He was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma on February 9, 1933 to Oscar and Idabell Bradford, the youngest of five children.  Preceding him in death, in addition to his parents, were Winston, Wilber and Romona Bradford. He is survived by his sister Winnie Brewer, his wife of 32 years Marguerite Thomas Bradford, son Andrew and Brad’s previous wife Vivian Bradford, four step-children:  Michael Phillips, Denise Black and granddaughter Anna, Leah Phillips (Beth), Kathryn Fornstrom (Stuart) and grandchildren Melissa and Douglas Fornstrom, brother-in-law John Thomas (Gerra Lee) along with numerous nieces and nephews. After high school, “Kayland” was typically referred to as “Brad”, except to family and classmates from school.  

Brad grew up in the Anadarko area and graduated from Senior High School in 1950.  In school he was active in the marching band, symphonic orchestra, as well as drama class.  After two years in the US infantry during the Korean Conflict, he entered the University of Oklahoma in Norman.  After graduating with a degree in engineering physics, he began his aerospace career with Hughes Aircraft Company in Southern California.  He prepared manuals for the operation and maintenance of airborne weapon control systems and was awarded a fellowship to attend the University of Southern California to obtain a masters degree in physics.  

Then, he went to TRW Systems, and was involved in the integration and testing of experiments for the Orbiting Geophysical Observatory class of satellites, which included coordination with the scientific community.  He was also involved in the orbital operations of the satellites and their on-board experiments, sometimes from such remote locations as Darwin, Australia, and Quito, Ecuador.

Then the most exciting position of his career began at Lockheed Martin  Aerospace in Denver. He worked on the Viking mission to put satellites around and on the surface of the planet Mars, part of the search for extra-terrestrial life.  He was involved with the segment of the spacecraft that safely soft-landed on the surface of Mars. It contained experiments to analyze the surface and atmosphere of the planet, along with camera systems to relay a variety of images back to Earth.  He was in the control center at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, California when the first pictures ever taken on the surface of another planet were seen here on Earth.

After several years at JPL, still on the Viking mission for Lockheed Martin, he returned to Denver to work on a robotic system planned for use on the International Space Station.  He was assigned to transfer the robotic technologies to manufacturing companies to enhance our country’s production capabilities.

He retired from Lockheed Martin in1993, but boredom from an idle life dictated a need to keep busy.  So he became an adjunct professor at three colleges in the Denver area, teaching mathematics, physics, and astronomy. He also went to China to improve the English capabilities of  Chinese students for a semester.

His three greatest passions were - 1- poker (playing, not watching); -  2 -football (watching, not playing) and 3 - travel (doing).  He had already been through all 50 states, Canada, Mexico and a few foreign countries so he and Marguerite focused on the more distant ones. These included Europe, Asia, Egypt, Israel, Russia, and several others .  After 39 years in Littleton, Colorado, they moved to Texas in 2009, primarily to escape to a lower altitude.

Brad will be buried at Chapel Hill Cemetery, Centennial, Colorado, following a 1:00 memorial service on February 13, 2019 at Drinkwine Mortuary, 999 W. Littleton Blvd, Littleton, Colorado.  Condolences can be sent to


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