RIP Janet Bradley

I moved to Portland in 1993 to work for Tears of Joy Theatre, the second largest puppet theater in the U.S.  It had been founded by Reg and Janet Bradley, who still ran the company.  For years, I toured for them, built puppets, and designed shows.  Through it all, Janet juggled the schedules of four or five different touring teams, in-town shows, and the production of new works.

She was a force of nature.

Yesterday, I got word that she was in the hospital. She passed away early this morning.  The last time I talked to her, she was still running every day and didn’t appear to have aged since I met her.

Here is the notice that her daughter, Emily Alexander, sent out.

To our friends and family,

My wonderful and perfect mother, Janet Bradley, passed away early this morning. She was, as you know, a vibrant, electric, and beautiful woman. Her passing is a shock. The cause can best be described as a birth-defect of her aorta that none of us, including my mother, knew about.

She was an elegant queen with a green thumb who could turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. And she truly loved and enjoyed her life. My mom was my very best friend, and a second mother to my children. I am so grateful to have had the time we did.

My mom had so many friends, I can’t possibly reach them all. Please help me by sharing this with our mutual friends, either by facebook, or by phone. I will announce the details of her wake in the days to come. She would want a celebration of her life, and she would most certainly want flowers. Lots and lots of flowers.


She will be missed.


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3 Responses

  1. Paul Jacobs

    Hi Mary–
    Wow, I was doing a search tonight on Janet, and came across your tribute. Thank you so much for your words. I’ve been on the board of directors for a couple of years, and business manager for the company for the last couple of months, and most recently, I’ve resigned from the board and been assigned the position of Managing Director Pro Tem, to take care of the company for the board until a new director can be found.
    I’ll be sure to share your posting with the staff and board, who have been so wonderful in their insistance that Janet’s dream continue. Hope you can make the Celebration of Life for Janet at the Newmark Theatre on May 16 at 7:00.

    Paul Jacobs
    Managing Director Pro Tem (but NEVER a replacement)
    Tears of Joy Theatre