Norman Bradley

Specialty is Oil painting; Sadly, Norman passed away on July 23, 2016.


Fort Wayne, IN


  • Oils
  • Painting
  • Watercolor


NORMAN W. BRADLEY, 80, Associate Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at IPFW passed from our midst on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Bradley was a painter all his life and a teacher of painting, art history, and design. He was one of seven children of Marguerite (Ayres) Bradley of Redkey, Ind. and Gordon E. Bradley of Port Perry, Ontario, Canada. Born on Christmas Day, 1935, Norman grew up in Fort Wayne and, upon graduating from South Side High School, attended The Fort Wayne Art School on scholarship for one year. He had been creating art since he could first hold a crayon. At age 16 in 1953, he bought an easel, oil colors, brushes and began to paint. He continued to paint until his death. In 1955, he and two friends headed for Mexico, a beautiful country, the love of which never left him - and changed his life. He studied art at Mexico City College and soon developed an intense interest in the art, history and culture of ancient Mesoamerica, a pursuit that would last the rest of his life, involving much research and numerous trips to as many of the major archaeological sites that he could visit in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras. He received his bachelor's degree in 1959. The following year, he enlisted in the army for three years as an artist in an information facility of the Pentagon in Northern Virginia. Early after his enlistment, he married Charlotte Gerberding of Fort Wayne. Upon discharge from the army, they headed for Mexico and Mexico City College, which had been renamed, The University of the Americas where he had a graduate fellowship. In the mid 1960's his focus shifted strongly toward the culture and history of the Maya with many trips to Yucatan, Chiapas, Guatemala, and Honduras to explore the great ruins of that amazing culture. He received his master's degree, Maestro en Bellas Artes with honors in 1964. About a month before graduation, he became a father to his only child, Melinda Mia, and had an exhibition of his work at a professional gallery in Mexico City. Returning to the states, they lived in San Francisco, Calif., for one year where he painted and made contacts for a teaching position. Norman taught art for two years at Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa. His first marriage was not a success and ended, whereupon he returned to Fort Wayne in 1967 to be close to his daughter and took a teaching position at the Art School which had become the Fort Wayne Art Institute School of Fine Arts. He taught several courses including painting and art history. In 1968, he initiated a pre-Columbian Art History course, one of the first in Indiana. It was a popular IPFW credit course which he continued to teach until his retirement in 2000. In 1970, he met Dixie Landis, a Fort Wayne girl with an interest in photography. They married in 1975 and the two traveled together to Mexico and especially to the great Mayan sites of Yucatan, Chiapas, and Central America to explore the fabulous Mayan ruins of these areas. Dixie photographed the ruins in great detail, which became the major visual source for his pre-Columbian Art History Class. They lived in the Historic West Central Neighborhood and were very active in the art life of Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana. Bradley exhibited widely in National, regional, and local exhibitions, receiving numerous awards. He was a Life Member of Artlink and Member of the Fort Wayne Art Museum. Dixie turned to painting and developed skill in the area very rapidly. They shared studio space and often exhibited their work together. They often traveled beyond Mesoamerica, to Peru in 1990 while on a sabbatical, and other trips to Ireland, Great Britain, and continental Europe. Naturally, they sought out the great art museums of the countries they visited. In 1997, they moved to Southwest Fort Wayne increasing their studio space. Here he wrote and self-published a book entitled A MESOAMERICAN ODYSSEY: My Fifty Year Discovery of Mexico and Central America. However, it might be noted that by 2016, it would be a six decade odyssey. For Norman, his priorities consisted of family, painting, and pre-Columbian art, especially that of the ancient Maya. He is survived by his wife, Dixie (Landis) Bradley; daughter, Melinda Mia Bradley-Stein; granddaughter, Melissa Stein; brother, Berton Bradley; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Gordon and Marguerite Bradley; and siblings, JoAnn Hawkins, Leland Bradley, Owen Bradley and Kenneth Bradley. Celebration of Life Service is 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 27, 2016, at D.O. McComb & Sons Covington Knolls Funeral Home, 8325 Covington Road, with calling one hour prior. Calling also from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, 2016, at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to Visiting Nurse Hospice.