Velma Bradshaw Leavell died at the age of 101 on Thursday, October 6, 2016. Born on August 27, 1915 to Elsie Allen Smith (grandniece of Mary Jane Brown, who with her husband Frank J. Brown, founded Friendswood in 1895) and William T. Smith (County Commissioner of Galveston Co. Mainland. who died in 1932 never having been defeated).
Velma was born in Friendswood, Texas just after the 1915 storm. Velma went through the 8th grade in the Friendswood School and graduated from Webster High School.
She married Edward W. Bradshaw who had moved to Galveston to open Bradshaw's
Florist and Garden Center and Landscape Dept. at 27th and Broadway. They were in business 40 years from 1932 – 1972. Eddie Bradshaw died in 1966 and she sold the florist and garden center six years later. She then became manager of their 300 acre nursery on FM 517 between Dickinson and Alvin which they had started in 1950 and Bradshaw’s Nurseries in League City.
She was the first woman to be named to the “Red Coats” of the Galveston Chamber of Commerce in the 1940's and 50's. She is past president of the Senior Guild of Trinity Episcopal Church, past secretary of the Florists Transworld Delivery Association of Texas, and Governor and later Lt. Governor of Texas for the American Association of Nurserymen.
She married David Leavell, Publisher of the Galveston Daily News in 1970 and continued her very active life. She was the first woman to be elected to the vestry of the Trinity Episcopal Church in 1973 and recording secretary of the Singles Group of the Diocese of Texas for the Episcopal Church. She went with the United States Nursery Industry leaders to Finland, Russia and the People's Republic of China in 1986. David Leavell died in 1989.
She was an active member of the Pachyderm Club, Dough Girls Investment Club, Ollie writing Class of UTMB and the Galveston Dance Club.
In addition she authored her autobiography entitled MY LIFE A MIXED BOUQUET which is available at Midsummer Book Store on Mechanic Street.
She is survived by two children, four grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Son Edward W. Bradshaw II and wife Deanna of Marble Falls, Texas (deceased) and their son Edward W. Bradshaw III, wife Reene and their two sons William and Jason Bradshaw of Alvin, Texas.
Daughter Ann Titus and her two daughters – Laura Moeller and husband Dave and their two daughters Amanda and Sara of Acworth, GA, and Bea Davies and her husband Mike and their two daughters Katherine and Caitlyn of Houston.
Daughter Bea Bradshaw Battistoni and her husband Jim of Dallas, TX, and their son Jason Battistoni and wife Alysia and their three children Micah, Bella Sophia and Brock of Spring Branch, TX.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, October 9, 2016 from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at J. Levy & Termini Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held on Monday, October 10, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. at Trinity Episcopal Church, with Reverend Susan Kennard officiating.
Burial will be held in the Friends Church Cemetery in Friendswood, Texas in their family plot.