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January 6, 1958 - May 31, 2020
According to our mom, our new baby brother arrived at our Springfield, Missouri, home early on January 6, 1958, atop a clattering farm combine being driven by our granddad (a farm implement inventor of sorts), both of them wearing big ol’ grins on their faces, as though they were quite pleased with themselves. Steven Jonathan Gaddie was eagerly welcomed by his parents Marvin and Dora Gaddie, and his siblings, Joyce, Wendell, and Dora June. Mom’s wild story about Steve’s arrival was her way of circumventing the “big question” that young children often ask upon the arrival of a new sibling, but we were so delighted by the story and our baby brother that we accepted it, and by the time our baby sister Margaret was born 5-1/2 years later, we were a bit more enlightened.
The family moved to an old Victorian in Butler, Missouri in early 1959, where Steve was allowed to tear around the house on his tiny trike, turning corners on two wheels, grinning in delight. He enjoyed growing up in a small town where he could bike all over the place, exploring every nook and cranny. He loved the old Bates County Courthouse on the square and grew to know quite a bit of history of the area. He enjoyed June Dairy Month, traveling amusement rides, and annual fireworks displays. While his early school years were accomplished in Butler, the family subsequently moved several times, and Steve experienced the dubious privilege of completing each high school year in a different high school in Springfield, Missouri, Jacksonville, Florida, Lamar, Colorado, and Excelsior Springs, Missouri. After high school, Steve enlisted in the U.S. Army and served there from 1976 to 1979. A few months after discharge, he moved to California to be closer to our brother Wendell who had settled down there after his stint in the Navy – they thought they’d hang out together, have a great time. They had been fairly close while growing up, although there was seven years’ difference in their ages. Unfortunately, a week after Steve’s arrival, our brother Wendell was killed in a motorcycle accident. Nevertheless, Steve remained in California where he had an opportunity to enjoy watching Wendell’s young daughter Tarah grow from infancy to toddlerhood. When our dad passed away two years later, Steve returned to Excelsior Springs to look after “our mumsie,” as he put it. He often attributed this period of time that, while tragic in the loss of our dad, it was beneficial to him to assume responsibility and get his life on track. He often said that Mom was his stabilizer, and he was always grateful for that.
In the next few years, he was presented with several more nieces and nephews, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Those kids remember fireworks at Uncle Steve’s house every Fourth, bumpy rides in the back of his pickup truck, “plinking” with the boys (for those who don’t know what that is, it has to do with target practice on tin cans on fence posts). Uncle Steve was portrayed as a “fun,” “cool,” “favorite” uncle by his nieces and nephews and had such a great sense of humor; anyone who knew him will remember that grin that was at once welcoming and mischievous. It was usually accompanied by a chuckle.
It was during this time also that Steve came to a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and grew in his understanding of God’s Word through the mentorship of his brother-in-law and other godly men.
Steve met the love of his life Michelle Collins in 1996, and they were married on December 6 that year. He often said that Michelle kept him grounded and complimented her as “the best wife a man could ever have.” Together they raised a son and daughter, Justin and Brittany. Steve enjoyed watching those two grow up and expressed how much he loved them in a recent conversation. “Such great kids,” he said. Steve and Michelle enjoyed many trips to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and could spend hours on the beach watching and listening to the powerful waves of the Atlantic Ocean, just enjoying one another’s company.
Steve was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer in August 2017 and underwent the gamut of surgeries and treatments until early 2020, when he decided that the battle had gone on long enough. In recent weeks, he liked to contemplate Revelation 4, having friends and family who dropped by read the passage with him. On such a visit the day before he passed away, my husband and I reflected on that passage with him and considered the awesomeness of witnessing face-to-face the glory of God in Heaven. He thought he’d probably be up there soon in the balcony somewhere. He was ready, he said. We cried together over the impending separation that death brings but rejoiced in the hope of our future reunion because of the sure promise of the resurrection we have in Christ. He expressed awe at the outpouring of love he had enjoyed from his family and friends and remarked that he must be the most-loved man in the universe. As I left his room that day, I looked back and thanked him for being my little brother. He grinned that Steve Gaddie grin, and nodded, “You, too, Sis. Love you.”
Steve went home to Heaven on May 31, 2020. He was preceded in death by his father, mother, brother Wendell, sister Dora June, and most recently his sister Margaret Blankenship. He is survived by his loving wife Michelle and their children Brittany and Justin Collins; his father- and mother-in-law Jack and Barbara Spicer; father-in-law Larry Downs; brother- and sister-in-law Richard and Rebecca Knight; brother-in-law and sister Chuck and Joyce Thayer; brother-in-law Jay Kephart; as well as, nieces and nephews: Tiffany and Mike Bell (Raef); Tarah Ayala; Jackie and Caleb Stalder; Brandon and Val Blankenship (Leilani); Bradford Blankenship and Beth Chavez (Tristan, Jonah, Ryker); Chris and Chrissy Pate (April, Ava); Elisa Thayer (Kendall Patterson); Chuck Thayer, Jr.; Kyle Middaugh; Devin and Kaira Peltier (Devaira, Huntley).