Sunday, February 26, 2012

William Jay "Jack" Brady, BHS 1945

William Jay "Jack" Brady, BHS 1945

William J. Brady was born June 14, 1927, in Chicago, Illinois. Jay, the name by which he was known through much of his life, lived a life full of adventure and contribution. As a youth in Chicago, Jay performed in several dance and theatrical productions. In 1940, Jay's family moved west to Burbank, Calif. Jack, as he was known during his youth, attended John Muir Jr. High where he lettered in three different sports.

At Burbank High, Jack lettered again, playing football and running track. Jack also served as Master Councillor in the Burbank Chapter of The Order of Demolay. Upon completion of high school, and before his official graduation ceremonies, Jay hurried off to join the U.S. Navy and serve Our Country during World War II. Jack's service began in San Diego and he sailed onward in the South Pacific aboard the USS Raymond. He was promoted to the rank of Quarter Master Third Class and was very proud that he could steer the ship.

Jay was very creative, exercised a bright mind, was skilled with his hands, and an energetic worker. He could build a car from the ground up and would later design and construct several homes and a cabin for his family. Jay rode spirited horses in his early Southern California days. He also lifted weights, near the area that became known as Muscle Beach. Jay attended college at SMU, UCLA, UNR, and eventually UNLV. He majored in mathematics, excelled in geology and physics, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from UNLV in 1970.

Jay was musically gifted, singing with the Double Dater Quartet while at SMU, and performing harmonies by voice and guitar with the Tiny Mike Trio during his days at UNR. In the early 1950's, an enthusiastic Brady arrived at the sprawling deserts of the Nevada Proving Grounds, where he would witness atomic history and make significant contributions toward nuclear research and testing. It was here that Jay, as a Lieutenant of Security with Federal Services, met Wanda Nell Wilson, a beautiful lady from the Panhandle of Texas, and asked her to go on a special date, to see an above ground nuclear test. On June 18, 1955 Jay and Wanda were married at The Little Church of The West in Las Vegas.

Jay also helped establish security at the original Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. During the 1950's and 60's, Jay participated in or witnessed a vast majority of above ground nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site and oh, the stories he could tell. Jay's position was that of Senior Health Physicist. In later years, Jay often travelled to Washington, D.C. and served on several committees concerning radiation safety. He especially enjoyed serving with the National Academy of Sciences.

William J. Brady was also an excellent chess player, a legendary popcorn maker, and shared the enjoyment of fishing with his family. His son has since become one of the best fish story tellers in all of Southern Nevada. Jay was preceded by his parents, Earnest Michael Brady and Ann Gilliland Scott Brady, both of Las Vegas.

Jay is survived by his wife, of 51 years, Wanda Nell Wilson Brady, and their three children, Phyllis A. McNeill of Colorado Springs, Colo., Linda S. Brady, and Donald J. Brady of Las Vegas, Nv. Jay and Wanda have five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter, recently born. Jay is also survived by his two sisters, Norma Jean Gibbs of Reseda, Calif., and Laurel Thornton of Redlands, Calif.

Memorial services were held July 17, 2006 at Palm Mortuary of Henderson, Nv. Special attendees included Jay's sister, Norma Jean Gibbs; nephew, Randy Thornton; George McNeill; daughters, Phyllis McNeill and Linda Brady; son, Don Brady; granddaughters, Brei McNeill and Noell Perez; Wanda's two sisters, Margie Barnhart and Wilma Green, both of Amarillo, Texas; and long-time family friends, Joe and Alberta Wells of Las Vegas.

Beautiful flower arrangements of red, white and blue carnations, honoring Jay's patriotic birthday and his U.S. Naval service were in abundance. A soloist sang "Danny Boy", one of Jay's favorite melodies, and a fully uniformed British bagpiper celebrated Jay's rich Scottish heritage. Jay was laid to rest July 18, 2006, with presentation of the flag, at The Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City, Nv. Many have been blessed by Jay's life and he truly lived with courage.

Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV) - July 29, 2006


  1. He now has seven great grandchildren!

  2. Jay was a wonderful man.