Harry T. Bradley

Public Servant

Harry T. Bradley was born in Coleman, Texas, on March 1, 1943 to I.L. and Ava Jewel Bradley. His father’s job with the Halliburton Company would result in Harry living his formative years in several West Texas towns. However, Anson, where his mother’s family lived, was his designated home.

After graduating from Cisco High School in 1961, he enrolled in Hardin-Simmons where he was a member of Tau Alpha Phi fraternity and Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. He worked part time at Dyess Air Force Base and for HSU basketball coaches, Lou Henson and Paul Lambert, while he earned a Bachelor of Science degree which he received in 1965.

Upon graduation, Harry served in the United States Air Force from 1965-1967, returning to Hardin-Simmons to complete a Master of Arts degree in economics in December of 1969.

Following graduate school, he moved to Austin and worked for the Texas Water Development Board. During his spare time, he became involved in Democratic Party politics and campaigns, working in numerous local, state and national elections. He kept his involvement with the Democrats a big secret from his paternal grandparents because they were “dyed-in-the-wool Republicans.” He was their only grandson, named after his grandfather. This was a promise made to his mother because of something called “family harmony.”

In 1979, Harry was hired by Abilene State Senator, Grant Jones, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The educational and professional experience he gained through that position allowed him the opportunity to work for Attorney General Mark White and afterward in the Governor’s Office as Special Assistant to Governor White. In this capacity, he helped Governor White lead the effort to finalize the agreement between the Lower Colorado River Authority and the Colorado River Municipal Water District to build Stacy Reservoir, known today as the O.H. Ivie Reservoir.

He returned to the Texas Water Development Board in 1987. Three years later, he joined the Bob Bullock for Lieutenant Governor Campaign, working full-time in both the 1990 and 1994 campaigns.

At the close of the 1994 campaign, Lieutenant Governor Bullock appointed Harry as Superintendent of the premiere burial ground for honored Texans, the Texas State Cemetery, where he continues to serve today. In addition to statewide elected officials, the Cemetery is the final resting place for heroes of the Texas Revolution, Civil War soldiers and cultural icons, as well as such historical figures as Stephen F. Austin and Sam Rayburn, members of the United States House of Representatives and Senate, members of the Texas House and Senate, and notable astronauts, artists, and authors.

Harry is a member of the Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church in downtown Austin. He has served as a Baptist deacon since 1986. He has one son, D’Marcus Dynell Wilson, who is the love of his life, and one grandson, D’Marcus Dynell Wilson, Jr., and a daughter-in-law, Dezhia Gorrer.

He has long served as a mentor and tutor in the Austin public schools and in 2005 was chosen as Mentor of the Year by the Austin Independent School District for elementary schools. His interests also include working with youth basketball and football leagues. He is a lifetime member of the American Legion. He was awarded the State Community Builder Award for Non-Masons by the Grand Masonic Lodge of Texas in 2006.

When Harry was a student at HSU, he could not have imagined the amazing opportunities he would experience in Texas government. For many years he was a familiar face in the Texas Capitol Building where he interacted daily with the key leadership of the state. A master storyteller, he has a host of stories and memories, which he loves to share. He retains a vast reservoir of knowledge about the players in Texas politics spanning the last five decades.

In 2013, Harry was instrumental in bringing special recognition to Hardin-Simmons University as he spearheaded an effort to have a memorial to the late HSU President Evan Reiff displayed at the Texas State Cemetery. Harry wanted to recognize Dr. Reiff for his work in integrating the HSU student body in the early 1960s. The memorial stands today because Harry demonstrated bold leadership in making this happen. He also held a special ceremony at the Cemetery honoring the life of Dr. Reiff on the day the memorial was dedicated.

In recognition of his service to the State of Texas and his love for his alma mater, Hardin-Simmons University proudly inducts Harry T. Bradley into the HSU Hall of Leaders.