Agricultural leader and honored alumnus Tom Bradbury dies

Tom and Margaret Bradbury
Tom and Margaret Bradbury were presented the Jim and Nadine Henry Award by the CSU Alumni Association in 2016. Tom Bradbury, who had significant impact on CSU over the past 50-plus years, died recently.

Tom Bradbury, an alumnus and great friend to Colorado State University who became a leader in the cattle and quarter horse industries, has died following a short illness.

Bradbury graduated from CSU in 1958 with a bachelor of science degree in farm and ranch management, and was one of CSU’s most influential alumni. He served on the National Western Stock Show executive board for many years, and was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame.

Passionate support for students

He and his wife, Margaret, were passionate supporters of the College of Agricultural Sciences and CSU athletics, attending hundreds of games over the years and donating thousands of dollars to support student scholarships. Their influence and wisdom were so profound they were chosen to serve on the Campaign Leadership Council for CSU’s first fundraising campaign that raised more than $537 million.

“Tom Bradbury was a great rancher, a great Coloradan and one of our most stalwart Rams,” said CSU President Tony Frank. “There just aren’t many like him, and we are deeply grateful for all that he and Margaret have done for CSU over their lifetimes. Our hearts are with Margaret and his family – Tom will be deeply missed by all of us at CSU who were fortunate to know and work with him.”

Tom Bradbury’s obituary

Rams from the beginning

The Bradburys met while students at CSU. Tom was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and Margaret in the Delta Delta Delta sorority. Both were members of the Block and Bridle Club and the Rodeo Club at CSU, and Margaret was CSU’s homecoming queen in 1958. They recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

The couple founded Bradbury Land & Cattle Co. near Byers, Colo., in 1958 and lived on their ranch for 45 years before moving to the Denver area in 2003. Tom remained active at the ranch over the years, and served as president of the American Hereford Association.

One of CSU’s finest

In 2007 he was given the Livestock Leader Award by CSU’s Department of Animal Science at the National Western Stock Show, and in 2016 Tom and Margaret received the Jim and Nadine Henry Award – one of the university’s highest honors – from the CSU Alumni Association.

One of his great passions was raising and racing quarter horses. He was part owner of I Like the Odds when it won the Los Alamitos Two Million in 2011 and took home $903,966 – the second-largest purse in quarter horse racing history at the time.

“Tom Bradbury was the epitome of Ram values,” said Ajay Menon, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “He used his success to give flight to the dreams of young agricultural sciences students. Margaret and he were an inspiring presence at our college events – especially those that involved students. His quiet, yet strong, presence and influence will be missed but never forgotten by all who were fortunate to have met Tom. He left the next generation a blueprint for success as a rancher business person and community leader.”