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Widow, UT work to honor Shelby County’s first COVID-19 victim


When he was a kid growing up in North Memphis, Kenneth Bradshaw dreamed of becoming an architect, but he couldn’t afford college.

So, after he graduated from Manassas High in the 1970s, he took a job as a carpenter’s assistant at the nearby University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Over the next 46 years, Bradshaw climbed the ranks, eventually becoming manager of UTHSC’s Architecture and Planning Division, and, finally, Director of Facilities Administration for the entire campus.

When Bradshaw retired in March 2020, he had a new dream: “From Carpenters 2 Architects”, a nonprofit he formed to expose under-resourced kids in Memphis to architecture and design.

On March 26, 2020, 20 days after his retirement party, Kenneth Bradshaw died. He was Shelby County’s first COVID-19 victim. He was 64.

Now, his family and friends have established the Kenneth James Bradshaw Design Camp Scholarship Endowment at UT-Knoxville.

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