It still makes Phil Santangelo smile.
Craig Bradley and his wife, Marge, were hours from leaving the country for vacation. But Bradley was still calling Santangelo, apologizing because he wouldn't have time to transport downed branches and debris near their Lakeside Boulevard homes to Hopatcong's recycling center.
"[Bradley] had to worry about getting to the airport and getting through customs and he was worried about twigs getting to the dump," Santangelo said.
It was one of the many fond memories Bradley's neighbors and friends shared with Patch on Sunday, less than a day after Bradley was near his home. Police said an autopsy Sunday morning confirmed Bradley, who friends said was in his late 60s, was killed earlier in the day when his car rolled over him while he was removing brush from his property.
Bradley, who friends said owned Van Genderan Auto Parts in Stanhope before spending his remaining years as a real estate agent, "would go above and beyond the call for anyone," Santangelo said.
Neighbor Bill Nagy Jr. agreed. Nagy befriended Bradley when Nagy owned a Mine Hill auto body shop. Nagy said Bradley would often give customers extensions on payments for car parts.
"He was just very pleasant, just a good guy," Nagy said.
Police Chief John Swanson knew Bradley, a member of Hopatcong's Municipal Alliance, for 26 years.
"He was a consummate gentleman," Swanson said. "Always congenial. Always a gentleman. He took an active role in what was happening in the community at a time where a lot of people settled into themselves."
Neighbor Scott Prior said Bradley "always looked out for his neighbors." Prior's wife, Lorie, said the couple was considering moving out of their Lakeside Boulevard home about 14 years ago when Bradley gave them some free real estate advice—don't do it.
"He told us not to move and that we had such a great spot," Lorie Prior said.
Said Scott Prior: "He was just a genuine guy who wanted to help you out."
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