Bradford Wayne Watkins
Bradford Wayne Watkins
  • July 19, 1949 - April 22, 2017
  • Saint Louis, Missouri

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Bradford Wayne Watkins, age 67, died peacefully with his family at his side on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at Barnes Jewish Hospital after a brave, two-year battle with leukemia.

Brad was born in Jonesburg, MO, to Clifford W. Watkins and Melba (Sutor) Watkins on July 19, 1949. He spent his childhood in Jonesburg and graduated from Montgomery City High School in 1967 where he was senior class president. He earned a B.S. in Marketing from Missouri State University in 1971 and worked most of his life in the publishing industry.

On August 29, 1970, he married Karen Brockelmeyer from Hermann, MO, and were privileged to enjoy nearly 47 years of marriage. Brad had close and loving relationships with his daughter, Jennifer (1980) and Craig (1983).

He was actively involved as a volunteer for Craig's Boy Scout troop where they hiked together at Philmont. He and Craig enjoyed many father and son chats as Craig drove to and from his job as pharmacist at St Luke's Hospital in Lee's Summit.

His daughter, Jennifer, was his trout fishing buddy and they enjoyed casting, laughing, and catching fish on trips to Bennett Springs and the Lake of the Ozarks. He kept her cars in tip top shape for safety and reliability and any other fix-it tasks.

Brad avidly loved the outdoors and enjoyed many adventures in the beauty of God's world hiking and kayaking with friends in our national parks. These friends share a special bond with Brad that will live in their hearts and memories forever. His favorite shopping stops were Cabela's and Bass Pro Shop.

Another of Brad's hobbies was woodworking and he made furniture pieces for his family to treasure. He was a regular at Rockler and Woodcraft and knew the locations of every Menard's store in the Midwest.

Brad and Karen enjoyed many wonderful trips and cruises during their marriage. Brad's leukemia diagnosis did not slow his love of travel. He and Karen enjoyed several trips in spite of his diagnosis and treatment in 2015. They most recently traveled to Colorado with their son, Craig.

Brad was blessed with his first grandchild, Ava Elizabeth Jones, on October 9, 2015, and she brought him loving joy. They shared a special bond and he was grateful to have gotten to be Grandpa.

Brad is survived by his wife, Karen, daughter Jennifer and son-in-law, Chris Jones, and granddaughter Ava of West Des Moines, IA, son Craig and daughter-in-law, Camille of Overland Park, KS. Also surviving is sister, Debbie Fullerton, niece Stephanie Fullerton and nephew Graham Fullerton and their families, and niece Leslie Predmore of Anthem, AZ. He was preceded in death by his parents and nephew Brandon Fowler.

Then there are Brad's many friends who have been steadfastly devoted to him and to Karen before and during his illness. No request or favor went unanswered and was done with love and generosity. Also included are his faith family from Kirkwood United Church of Christ where he worshipped for over 37 years.

In the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," Clarence the Angel teaches George Bailey the value of his life. He says, "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives." "No man is a failure who has friends." George's brother toasts George at the end of the movie with, "To my brother, George, the richest man in town." The same can truly be said of Brad; he was a wealthy man because of the love he shared with his family and many friends who were drawn to him because of his good-natured sense of humor and wit. Our treasure is that the love and friendships will live in their hearts forever.