Cover photo for Lela Mae McCleary- Bradley's Obituary
Lela Mae McCleary- Bradley Profile Photo
1943 Lela 2024

Lela Mae McCleary- Bradley

July 12, 1943 — April 16, 2024


Lela McCleary-Bradley was born to S. Angeline and Willard McCleary on July 12, 1943, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Albuquerque, NM. She attended Lew Wallace elementary school, Washington Jr. High and graduated from Albuquerque High School. She was a concert pianist and used her singing and playing talents in the choir at Mt Olive Baptist church. She learned the power of God in her home and at Mount Olive where her mother played the organ, piano and sang in the choir. The faith she learned when she was young was palpable, and an ever present help her entire life.


After graduation she earned her LPN license from Presbyterian hospital and eventually earned her RN degree from the University of Albuquerque. She used her knowledge and experience to teach Corpsman in Clearfield, Utah. In her 45 years of nursing, she worked the floor as an ICU nurse, House Supervisor, Hospice and Homecare. She continued her work as a nurse in the various states that she lived in. 


She married James G. Bradley (the first time) on June 25, 1963, and they later divorced and found their way back to each other and remarried on November 19, 1983, and stayed married until his death on April 27, 1998. 


She enjoyed traveling to distant places and moved many times during her marriage leaving an indelible mark in this world. She has been the Secretary in the Home Circle Club, for decades, the Oldest Black Women’s organization in New Mexico. She was active in the NAACP, Westside Chapter, when her husband Jim was President.   She was the editor, typist, and translator when he got both his master’s and Doctorate degrees, due to Jim’s blindness. 


She was often the genius in the background of many prosperous events in life. She preferred to be in the background and was a force to be reckoned with. She overcame many adversities in life and dealt with it with the ferocity of a survivor in times when you didn’t expose your life to the world. She raised 4 children, not an easy task as she was going to school during the day, working nights and having to pivot because of Jim's unexpected health conditions. 


She was an avid gardener and LOVED her over 1000 roses at one point. She was an amazing seamstress, often making all her children’s clothes, crocheted, knitted, grew her own food for a time and canned. She loved to cook and bake her own bread. She enjoyed passing on her traditions to her children and grandchildren. For every grandchild and great grandchild, she ushered them into the family with a Lela Mae homemade, knitted, crocheted or hand sewn blanket. She was proud of, honored and remembered her ancestors. Every holiday was a field trip to the cemetery to clean and clear the graves of those gone before. Every Christmas she put her artistic skills to work and made wreaths for her family’s graves until last year. The only thing that rivaled the love she had for her family was her LOVE of Football. She was an avid Pittsburgh Steeler and Oakland Raiders fan. One particular season she had, had enough and was completely unsatisfied with how Al Davis was running the team, so she wrote him a very tasteful, scathing letter to express her displeasure of his management style and decisions that year. An act she was very proud of.



She was a woman of style, grace, and tradition, had a wicked sense of humor and loved to dance. She left this plane on her own terms, as she led her life, on April 16, 2024, and gently made her date with God. She did not let people in frivolously, so for those she did, she did her level best to make sure their lives were better after she touched it.   She would protect you until her last breath, and she did.


The family would like to thank all the friends and connections that kept her going for so long. A special thank you to Pastor and Lady Miller, who helped her return to her roots at Mt. Olive Baptist Church. 


She is preceded in death by her grandmother, Mae Otis Washington, mother, S. Angeline Bouldin, her father, Walter M. Bouldin, her other father Willard McCleary, her brother Willard D. McCleary, husband James G. Bradley, grandson Jesse Bradley, she leaves her children, Wyetta Bradley of Santa Fe, James G. Bradley II of Albuquerque, Candace Bradley-McDonald (Steven) of Oakridge, NC, Jason Bradley (Anne) of Tempe, AZ, grandchildren, Caulin Reed, Kenneth Williams, Mandisa (Ahdohny) Routheni, James G. Bradley III, Raevyn Plouffe, Madison, Sydney, and Kendall McDonald, Benjamin and Naomi Bradley. 10 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild. Her brother Jon Walter Bouldin of Phoenix, Cousin Christina McCleary of Baltimore, and many more cousins, nieces, nephews, and sister in laws.


 Her arrangements will be made by Strong-Thorne Mortuary, 100 Coal Ave, Albuquerque, NM. A service will be Saturday May 11, 2024, at 11:00 at Mt Olive Baptist Church, 2401 University Blvd. S.E., Albuquerque, NM. Interment will follow at Fairview Memorial Park, 700 Yale Blvd. S.E., Albuquerque, N.M.  In Lieu of Flowers, Cherish and Love those close to you. Hug and tell them you Love them often.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, May 11, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Saturday, May 11, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Mountain time)

To follow funeral service

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