In 1998, when Ben Bradlee visited the Gow School in South Wales, where his son was a student, the former Washington Post exceutive editor talked about their father-and-son workouts in the woods and the trouble with lies from presidents to professional athletes.
“The common denominator between the only two impeachment episodes in my history seems to be lying,” Bradlee said at that time when he was at Gow as part of a distinguished speaker series. “There is a lot of spinning, a lot of lying in our times. In politics, in government, in sports, everywhere. It’s gotten to the point where if you’re like me, you no longer believe in the first version of anything.”
News of Bradlee’s death at 93 on Tuesday prompted Gow Headmaster M. Bradley Rogers Jr. to reminisce about the family’s impact on the school and its advocacy for people with learning disabilities. Bradlee, renowned for his leadership of the Post during the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, was a memorable presence. “He touched people here at Gow with his charismatic flair,” said Rogers, who has led the school for the last 11 years and missed Bradlee’s visit 16 years ago.
Quinn Bradlee, the son of Bradlee and Sally Quinn, graduated from Gow in 2002.
In 2009, after Quinn Bradlee published a memoir, “A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures,” Rogers spoke with. “I read it and really called him to thank him for the work that he’s done with people with learning disabilities,” Rogers said. “He told a nice a story about his journey in terms of struggling in school. … Like any teenager experiencing high school, there was the good and not so good.”
Quinn Bradlee, diagnosed with velocardiofacial syndrome, was born with a hole in his heart that was surgically repaired when he was 3 months old. Gow’s program specializes in helping students with dyslexia and similar language-based learning disabilities.
As a student, Quinn Bradlee played tennis, squash and soccer and won school citizenship awards, including the coveted “head waiter” prize. The school’s oldest leadership distinction, it involves taking charge of dining hall cleanup. “The kids fight for this position,” Rogers said.
Quinn Bradlee’s ather was invited to speak at Gow in 2001 – the school’s 75th anniversary – as part of the distinguished speakers series that included the late NBC News journalist Tim Russert. The school, which was founded in 1926 for boys, is now co-ed with 150 boarding and day students.
“We stay connected to almost all of the alums,” Rogers said.