header 1
header 2
header 3

In Memory

Bill French (French) - Class Of 1946

William Bradley "Bill" French

Monday, March 6, 2017



William Bradley "Bill" French


Dec. 11, 1929 - Feb. 26, 2017

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Former Ord Civic and business leader William Bradley "Bill" French passed away on Feb. 26, 2017, in Chandler at the age of 87.



William was born Dec. 11, 1929, in McCook to Otto and Maybelle Bradley. Otto was tragically killed in an automobile accident on Dec. 24, 1929, just a few blocks from the hospital on Norris Avenue after visiting Maybelle and William. Maybelle remarried Robert H. French a few years later and William was adopted by Robert, joining a twin brother and a sister, Robert Jr. and Nanette.


William graduated from McCook High School and community college. Bill married Mildred Berry in McCook in 1948 while serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Two children were born in McCook to this marriage, Valarie and Ernest.

Upon returning from the service, Bill worked for Herrmann Funeral Home. He became a district manager for Fuller Brush in 1956, moving to Grand Island, Neb. He became a State Farm insurance agent in Ord, Neb., in 1960. He served the Ord and Central Nebraska area for over 50 years, retiring in 2010.

Bill served as mayor of Ord for two terms, founded and served as the first Exalted Ruler of the Ord Elks Lodge, and was a past state president of the Nebraska Jaycee's. An Eagle Scout in McCook at age 15, he continued in scouting his whole life and received the Silver Beaver Award, Boy Scouts of America's Distinguished Service Award in 2005.

He was founder of the Sherman Yacht Club, was a four-time National Sailing Champion, pilot, golfer, scuba diver, and snow skier.

Bill is survived by wife, Nancy of Casa Grande, Ariz.; daughter, Valarie Fruit of Discovery Bay, Calif.; son, Ernie (Carol) French of Johnson Lake, Neb.; brother, Robert French of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; sister, Nanette Baumfalk of Colby, Kan,; grandchildren, Jennifer (Marc) Caro of Tucson, Ariz., Noah (Shelly) French of Goodyear, Ariz., Nathan (Haley) French of Aberdeen, Scotland, and Ashlee French of Burbank, Calif.; nieces, Nancy (Jack) McKenzie of McCook, Sherry McDonald of Colby, Kan., and Terrea (Andrew) Wakefiled of Las Vegas, Nev.; nephews, Gary (Yvonne) Baumfalk of Colby, Kan., Robert French III of Highborn Cay, Bahamas, and Virgil Baumfalk Jr. of Colby.

Bill was preceded in death by his mother, Mabelle French; father, Otto Bradley; step-father, Robert French; wife, Mildred French; grandson, Joshua Durand; and brother-in-law, Virgil Baumfalk.

Celebration of Life Services will be in Lexington, Neb., on Saturday May 20, 2017, (details at a later date) and on Saturday March 11, 2017, at 2 p.m. at 11 South Mission Parkway, Bldg 2, Casa Grande, Ariz.