Friday, November 9, 2012

RIP Olympe Bradna

Antoinette Olympe Bradna Wilhoit went peacefully home to be with her Savior surrounded by the LOVE of her family on November 5, 2012.

Oly, Mom, Nana & GG, as she was known by various members of her family and friends, possessed great beauty, not only on the outside, but even more from the inside. She was a woman of great humility, grace, dignity & faith. She always lit up the room when she entered and her genuine charm captivated those who were near her.

She is survived by her loving family: Her Children: Douglass Woods Wilhoit, Jr. and wife Joan of Stockton, Antoinette Wilhoit Giggey and husband William of Rancho Murieta & Jeannette Wilhoit of Folsom.
Her grandchildren: Matthew Woods Wilhoit of Sacramento, Gretchen Guptil and husband Chad of Elk Grove, Carolyn McLaren and husband Douglas of Tennessee, Amy Lineras and husband Patrick of San Jacinto, Chris Morgan and wife Jamie of El Dorado Hills.

Her Great Grandchildren: Justin & Nick Guptil, Alex, Taylor & Luke Mclaren, Kate Anne McAfee, Mackenzie & Dylan Morgan.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years, Douglass Woods Wilhoit, Sr. who passed away February, 2012 and her parents, Jeanne & Joseph Bradna.

Olympe was born in Paris France into a theatrical family. Her uncle, Fred Bradna was Ring Master for many years with the Ringling Bros. organization. She was named after the Olympia Theatre in Paris where she was "born in a trunk." At the age of 13 months, she began performing in her parent's act. Olympe would sing, dance and perform acrobatics. She performed across Europe before royalty and on every stage where she performed the audiences loved her talent and charm…"a star was born."

In 1936, Paramount Pictures signed her to a contract with them. At 16 years of age, Olympe and her family came to the United States. Olympe starred in many films including: "Say It In French" with Ray Milland, "International Squardron" with the future President, Ronald Reagan, "Souls At Sea" with Gary Cooper & George Raft and many more to numerous to mention. 

In 1940 on an appearance tour promoting a film, she stopped in Los Gatos with her Mother to visit a friend of theirs, George Baker. George had brought along his life long friend, Douglass Wilhoit, Sr. and the minute Olympe stepped off the train, as Douglass tells it, "he fell in love with her at first sight." 

They were married on May 14, 1941 in Sherman Oaks, California 

They began their married life in Southern California and Olympe said good-bye to her Hollywood career and began her new life as a wife and mother. In 1942, Olympe and Douglass moved to Stockton California, the home to which Douglass was a 4th generation Stocktonion. Olympe became involved in many charitable organizations such as The Children's Home of Stockton and Stockton Junior League. She was chair-person many times for the Junior League's Camellia Ball and brought her European flair to each event.

In 1968, Olympe & Douglass moved to the family home in the Carmel Highlands, where they lived until 1995 when they returned to San Joaquin County and Lodi to be closer to their family. They always said, "they had come Full Circle."

The family would like to thank Dr. Kenneth Mullen for his gentle care. Iliana, Angelica & Nubia of Visiting Angels who always provided loving care for "Miss Oly." Monsignor Lawrence McGovern and Hospice Chaplain, Tony Berry for their Spiritual support. Hospice of San Joaquin for helping her to be so comfortable during her final days. Casa Bonita Funeral Home and San Joaquin Rural Cemetery for their guidance and kindness to her family.

The family would also like to thank the scores of friends who have reached out to them at this time for their loss with so many wonderful and kind comments of a woman who touched so many lives and will be remembered for her grace, love and beauty.

At her request, when she is laid to rest along side her Dougie, it is to be a private and family only at the Wilhoit Family Plot at the San Joaquin Rural Cemetery. She has also requested no visitation. Also at her request, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent in her memory to The Children's Home of Stockton, 403 N. Pilgrim, Stockton, California 95205 and Hospice of San Joaquin, 3888 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, California 95204.

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because when one has stood the test … they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." - James 1:12.

 Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from November 9 to November 16, 2012

BRADNA, Olympe (Antoinette Olympe Bradna)
Born: 8/12/1920, Paris,
Died: 11/5/2012, Lodi, California, U.S.A.

Olympe Bradna’s western – actress:
High, Wide and Handsome – 1937

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