Maryville College mourns passing of Tutt Bradford

Maryville College mourns passing of Tutt Bradford

March 25, 2012
Contact: Karen B. Eldridge, Director of Communications

Dr. Tutt S. Bradford, a former member of the Maryville College Board of Directors who generously supported the initiatives and improvements at the liberal arts college for more than four decades, died Fri., March 23, at Shannondale Health Care Center in Maryville.

He was 94.

Funeral services are planned for 6 p.m., Mon., March 26, at First Baptist Church of Maryville. The family will receive friends following the service from 7 until 9 p.m. in the church’s Family Life Center.

A native of South Carolina, Bradford started in the newspaper business as a carrier at the age of 8. Following college and service in World War II, he became publisher of the Cleveland (Tenn.) Daily Banner. He later became assistant to the president of General Newspapers, Inc., and publisher of the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier before purchasing the Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times in 1955 and becoming its publisher.

Tutt and wife Elizabeth “Lib” became active members of the Blount County community, joining First Baptist Church of Maryville and various civic organizations.

Tutt was instrumental in the creation of the Blount County Industrial Development Board, the Blount Hearing and Speech Foundation, the Greenbelt in downtown Maryville, the Pellissippi Parkway extension and the Foothills Parkway construction, among other endeavors.

Locally, he was president of the Blount County United Way, the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and the Blount Memorial Hospital Foundation. He was co-chairman of the campaign to raise funds for the Blount County Public Library. He also served on the boards of the Knoxville Symphony, the Knoxville Museum of Art and the East Tennessee Foundation.

Tutt was active in newspaper and publishing organizations, serving as president of the Tennessee Press Association and as a board member of the Tennessee Press Foundation and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. He was publisher of the Daily Times until 1984, when he became chairman of its board. He and his family sold the newspaper in 1989.

Tutt Bradford joined Maryville College’s Board of Directors in 1974 and served 17 years. In that time, he held leadership positions on various committees of the Board, including the Vision 1994 Campaign Steering Committee and the MC2000 Campaign Council. He chaired the presidential search committee that brought Dr. Gerald W. Gibson to the College in 1993.

The Bradfords supported numerous programs and campaigns at the College. Sharing MC’s commitment to service, they established the Bradford Scholars Program, which awards tuition money to select students who are committed to adult literacy and education. Since 1994, more than 100 Bradford Scholars have worked with the Adult Basic Education programs in Blount County by tutoring inmates at the Justice Center, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and reading to residents of the senior centers in the area.

In 1995, the Bradfords were major contributors to the library automation fund, which launched MC Quest, a search interface that allows users to search the College library’s resources. They helped establish computer writing labs for the College’s writing/communications major and student publications, and they supported bricks and mortar campaigns at the College, including the renovation and expansion of Bartlett Hall. The parlor located in the front of Bartlett Hall bears the family’s name.

Tutt financially supported the construction of the Clayton Center for the Arts and, in a 2009 interview with a writer from Maryville College, called on other community leaders to back it.

Recognizing Tutt’s effective service on the Board, the College bestowed upon him an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1987. In 2003, he was awarded the Medallion, the College’s highest award, which recognizes exemplary service to the institution, outstanding service to community and church, and prominence and leadership in a chosen profession or career.

After hearing the news of Bradford’s death on March 23, Maryville College President Emeritus Dr. Gerald W. Gibson said he was saddened by the loss but would be forever grateful for Bradford’s friendship, wisdom, generosity and inspiration over the years.

“There are people in your life who should live forever. Tutt Bradford was, for me, one of those,” Gibson said. “He chaired the search committee that brought me to Maryville College, and he was a constant partner in its progress during my watch.

“From the funding of the first campus plan, to the Bradford Scholars Program, to countless projects aimed at making the College better, Tutt was there,” the president emeritus continued. “He was there, too, for the larger community, and his prints can be found on a vast array of initiatives that strengthened this community across the decades.”

Dr. Tom Bogart, the 11th president of Maryville College who took office in July 2010, said that while he didn’t have the opportunity to know Bradford well, he has had the opportunity to hear about – and see firsthand – the community leader’s incredible legacy.

“At Maryville College, we strive to prepare students to be citizen leaders, so we were fortunate to have Tutt Bradford involved in the campus and wider community, modeling that ideal for more than five decades. He was a visionary, a smart businessman and a philanthropist who gave out of a sincere love of people."

Survivors include Board member, alumnae

Bradford modeled citizenship and leadership for his family, as well, Bogart pointed out.

“His children, grandchildren and in-laws are positive forces in their communities,” Bogart continued. “Nancy Cain, one of Tutt’s daughters, has followed in her father’s footsteps on our Board of Directors, and we feel fortunate to be guided by her wisdom, experience and perspectives as a citizen striving to strengthen and better the community.”

Tutt was preceded in death by his parents, T.S. and Zula Bradford; his first wife, Elizabeth “Lib,” his second wife, Mercedes “Mickey,'' two sisters, Zula Lee Wood and Sarah Weiss.

Survivors include: two daughters, Nancy Cain, Debbie Moon; son-in-law, Jerome Moon; step-daughter, Frances Morris (Bob) of Monticello, Fla.; five grandchildren, Elizabeth ''Liz'' Notter of Gaithersburg, Md., Catherine Cain Robbins-Schumann ’90 (Ron Schumann) of Maryville, Amy Dunaway (Seth) of Powell, Julia Cain Phillippi ’96 (David) of Brentwood, Tenn., Sarah Spinosa (Philip) of Memphis; 13 great-grandchildren; a sister, Dot McGhee of Spartanburg, S.C.; a brother, Randolph Bradford of Pauline, S.C.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.