BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Wilma or "Willie" Bradford as she was best known to friends and family came to Bangor with her husband in 1945 to establish her roots, and that began a 70 year long mission to make her new home a better place.

Willie Bradford was recognized with a WLBZ2 John W. Coombs Award in 2006 for her years of community service. She became active in volunteerism at a time when women weren't always welcome in some of the roles she assumed. She was the first woman campaign chair of the United Way Of Eastern Maine.

Through the years, she served on boards or in other capacities for a number of organizations including Husson University, The American Lung Association, Fields Pond Audobon Center, and Maine Center for the Arts.

Willie Bradford left her stamp on greater Bangor. She was instrumental in the creation of Acadia Hospital and Maine Center for the Arts, which later became the Collins Center for the Arts.

She was 97 years old. She died on July 18 following a brief illness, according to her obituary. Funeral services are pending and will be announced at a later date.