Myrle Pauline Robertson Bradshaw died at her Ketchum home on Dec. 28, 2020, at the age of 107.
Myrle was an Idahoan through and through, and although she traveled the world, her life began and ended in her beloved home state.
Born into a pioneer family in Gooding, Idaho, on Dec. 19, 1913, Myrle was the daughter of John and Mable Robertson. She spent her first six years on the family’s sheep ranch north of Gooding, before moving into town for school. These early years shaped Myrle, who accompanied her father on visits to the nearby Indian village of Toponis, where he took time to teach the Indians and Basque sheepherders to read and write. Myrle and her brother, John, fished and spent their days outside. They also tagged along when her father’s livestock business took him to Ketchum, where he had first arrived in 1898.
Myrle developed her lifelong love of music at an early age, studying piano and playing the trumpet throughout her schooling. She graduated from Gooding High School and attended Gooding College for three years. In 1934 she and her steady boyfriend attended a local Saturday night dance. While there, D.B. “Buzz” Bradshaw approached her, asking for a dance and a chance to see her home. Myrle explained that she was there with somebody else. Buzz then called her several times, until Myrle cautiously agreed to a date with this Stanford graduate, who told Myrle he “peddled honey” in his family’s business. Six months later, they were married, a match made in heaven as the marriage spanned 77 years, until Buzz died in 2011 at the age of 101.
After honeymooning in Ketchum’s Bald Mountain Hot Springs Cabins, the young couple settled in Wendell in a $17-a-month rental, a tiny little place Myrle called “The Love Tester” because she figured that “if you could live there, you could live anywhere!”
The Bradshaws stayed in Wendell for the next 32 years. During this time, sons Doug and Ben were born and the family was actively involved in the community. The early 1950s found the Bradshaws in Ketchum on weekends, building a mountain getaway chalet in the Knob Hill area. Later they would build a larger home next to this original house, a home with a view of Baldy through the pines, a place Myrle and Buzz enjoyed with family and friends and where they each died.
In 1963, Buzz’s family sold the honey business, which had grown into the largest independent honey-producing and packing business in the United States. Three years later, Buzz, Doug and Ben established Bradshaw Food Brokerage, and later Bradshaw Inc. and Bradshaw International, which focuses on kitchenware and is run by the third generation of the family.
The purchase of the food brokerage company took Myrle and Buzz to Los Angeles. Myrle played an important role as a gracious hostess, entertaining customers and executives from across the country in the Bradshaw residences in Los Angeles and Ketchum, as well as their new condominium in Indian Wells. She brought grace and a sense of style to any gathering. Myrle’s touch was especially apparent in the artwork and fine furnishings in each home, as well as the beautiful clothing and jewelry she always wore.
Myrle and Buzz traveled the world and later years found the couple going between Ketchum and the desert, eventually spending more and more time in Idaho, where they had a large circle of friends of all ages. The house was a flurry of activity. Myrle and Buzz were particularly close to their grandchildren and their offspring, who visited often to ski, fish and spend time with family. Buzz and Myrle spearheaded a fundraiser to create the Knob Hill Park and later deeded two lots to the city to expand it. They were active in St. Thomas Episcopal Church and were grand marshals of Ketchum’s 2005 Wagon Days parade.
In later years, Myrle hosted an annual Christmas party for the children of friends. Myrle was a longtime member of P.E.O., joining the organization in Gooding in 1947, helping to establish the Wendell chapter, moving into Hailey’s Chapter AM and ultimately belonging to Chapter CH in Sun Valley. Recently, Chapter CH established a P.E.O. scholarship in Myrle’s name. Myrle was also involved in Eastern Star and throughout her life, she kept in touch with the young women she met while Guardian of Job’s Daughters in Wendell.
Myrle had a large group of girlfriends and loved going to lunch or hosting them for wine in the sunny corner of her Ketchum home. Neighbors stopped often. Myrle had an uncanny knack of keeping up with every person’s comings and goings, never forgetting a detail of what was going on in their lives. Her sense of humor and her love of life were infectious, and Myrle’s adoring friends were continually inspired by her.
At 105, Myrle told a friend that she knew she didn’t have much time left. But she said, “I don’t dwell on it. I wake up thinking, ‘What am I going to read today?’”
Myrle was predeceased by her husband, Buzz, and her son Ben. She is survived by her son Doug Bradshaw of Gardnerville, Nev., his wife, Nancy, seven grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank Myrle’s dedicated caregivers: Tammy Martinez, Marisa Elizarraras and Gay Burk.
A celebration of life will be held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Ketchum at a future date, post COVID-19; date to be announced.
Memorial gifts to be directed to the Hospice of the Wood River Valley, Box 4320, Ketchum, ID 83340.
Friends may share a condolence, message or photo at woodriverchapel.com.