John Hammond Bradshaw, Jr., father of William E. Bradshaw, was a businessman and philanthropist. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire by King George VI for his service to the Crown during World War II. His honorary knighthood (honorary, because he was not a British citizen) was given in recognition of his development and successful implementation of the concept of a naval shipping model still used today. His innovative concept of “diversified shipping” which commingled all troops, fuel, vehicles, armaments, and provisions within each naval vessel supplying Britain and other allies saved untold numbers of lives during World War II alone. Bill’s grandfather Bradshaw was the personal physician of Thomas Edison. Bill’s mother, Laura Francis Ottis, was the daughter of a St. Paul, MN, businessman, Francis J. Ottis, who was closely aligned with Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing. Francis Ottis was himself the inventor of a patented process to produce high impact malleable iron from cast iron, resulting in a product that revolutionized industries from agricultural to military. As a young woman, Laura learned much about politics and philanthropy from her uncle, Frank Billings Kellogg, who served as a Senator from Minnesota, U. S. Secretary of State during Calvin Coolidge’s presidency, and was awarded the 1929 Nobel Peace Prize as co-author of the 1928 Pact of Paris. Laura carried her strong, post-World War I liberal beliefs in equality for all persons, regardless of race, gender, or national origin throughout her long life, and instilled the importance of these principles in Bill. She and her husband, whom she called Jack, gave generously of both time and resources to advance educational opportunities, women’s rights, and the arts, locally and throughout the state of Pennsylvania, where they owned and operated a dairy farm on which Bill was raised.
Carl Martin Holzapfel and Ruby Victoria Carlson were the parents of Christina Marie Holzapfel. Both of Chris’ parents were the children of immigrants. Her luthier grandfather, Carl C. Holzapfel, established the first professional violin shop in Baltimore, Maryland, where he hand-crafted prize-winning violins owned by renowned violinists, including David Oistrakh and Isaac Stern; he perfected the 12-string guitar, ushering in a period of popular music that lasts to this day. He was followed in this profession by Chris’ father, Carl Martin, himself a gifted craftsman and musician, who served as principal violist in the National Symphony and violinist in the Baltimore Symphony throughout much of his life. Chris’ maternal grandmother, Jennie C. Carlson, was brought to the United States from Sweden as an indentured servant to President William McKinley, specifically to serve as his cook. Chris’ mother was a pioneer school teacher, qualifying to teach at the age of 16, completed advanced training in Greeley, Colorado, and later joined Carl M. in the violin shop, where she established a program directed at student musicians. As a family, creativity, hard work, faith, service to others, and living life in a way to “leave a trace” were defining principles. Glimpses of this philosophy can be seen in one of many print news articles about the Holzapfel Violin Shop from the Baltimore Sun Magazine, May 9, 1948.