|Birth: ||Mar. 15, 1965|
|Death: ||Jan. 25, 2012|
SHANTZ, Bradley James "Brad" Passed away suddenly as the result of a heart attack on Wednesday, January 25, 2012, at the age of 46 years. Devoted husband of Wendy (Fox) Shantz of Elmira. Brad was adored by his children Riley, Ryan and Kayla. Much loved son of Wilf and Chris Shantz of West Montrose and caring brother of Julie Shantz of Kitchener. Dear son-in-law of Doug and Judy Fox of Carthage and brother-in-law of Douglas and Sarah Fox of Plattsville. Fun-loving uncle of Ashley Fox. Brad was a long-time employee, with a perfect driving record, of Thur Transport for almost 30 years. The family will receive their friends and relatives at the Dreisinger Funeral Home, Elmira on Monday evening, January 30, 2012 from 7-9 and on Tuesday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral service will be held at Woodside Bible Fellowship, 200 Barnswallow Drive, Elmira on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 1 p.m. with The Rev. Dr. Linda J. Bell officiating, followed by interment in the Elmira Union Cemetery. In Brad's memory, donations to Gale Presbyterian Church Building Fund or a trust fund for Wendy and her children would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy. www.dreisingerfuneralhome.com
A kind-hearted, gentle guy
Waterloo Region Record Online
Brad Shantz of Elmira
When Brad Shantz climbed into the cab of his truck, it must have seemed as if the whole world melted away, leaving him with nothing but the open road ahead.
And he took such care with his cargo, particularly when he started driving livestock. Getting every animal to its destination without injury or too much stress became Brad's goal.
"Certain farmers would ask for him," said his wife Wendy Shantz.
Brad took great pride in his work and he was always happy as a driver, never wanting to get into the management aspect of the trucking industry even though his father had been part-owner of Thur Transport, the company Brad worked for since his teens.
Wendy said her husband hated the idea of spending day after day in an office. He yearned for the open road and on shorter hauls, would take one of their three children with him. It's these special moments the kids will miss.
Riley, 11, Kayla, six, and Ryan, eight, all experienced the fun of sitting high in the cab beside their dad, looking out at the world rushing past.
"I liked to go with him for livestock," said Ryan, who is the spiting image of his father at the same age, all smiles and round cheeks. "I got to see all the cows. It was kinda fun and kinda annoying."
"I liked looking at the pigs," added his sister Kayla. He'd show me where he was going (on maps): Memphis, Tennessee and West Virginia."
It was on a long haul truck run that Brad unexpectedly died.
Wendy said the family had gone to Niagara Falls for a family weekend vacation. On the Sunday, her husband climbed into his truck for the final time, bound for Iowa. Immediately after delivering his load to a factory, Brad began experiencing chest pains and asked to go to the hospital. An ambulance was called, he was rushed to hospital and despite the efforts of emergency room doctors, Brad died.
Wendy said her husband was fit, never had any indication of heart problems and had in fact just passed his physical examination. He was also a laid-back kind of guy, not one to get stressed.
What followed, however, was a coming together of nearly the whole town of Elmira where the couple lives. Prepared meals came pouring in and a trust fund was set up for the children. Wendy is still in awe of this unexpected response.
Brad and Wendy had known each other for several years and they just seemed to gravitate to each other. She laughs when she describes how they seemed to do everything backwards: had three children, bought a house then got married Aug. 15, 2008. In her eulogy, Wendy recalled their wedding, saying to her husband "You looked so happy and in love, not just with me but with our family."
For Brad, life was about family, about getting down on the floor playing with kids and he was even eager to pick up their pet guinea pigs for a little cuddle.
Just a glance at Brad's high school photo says it all. The big grin never faded, said Wendy. In fact that grin seemed to consume his entire face.
Brad was born the eldest of two kids and started working at Thur as a teenager, cleaning trucks and shuttling the vehicles around the yard. By age 18 he was old enough to drive, starting with a straight truck; the smaller, single axle vehicles. Throughout his 30-year career, Brad found solace on the road. "He liked to be by himself," said Wendy.
With his job, being away days at a time, Wendy was often left on her own to run the household. While she missed her husband, just knowing he was coming back gave her strength. "Even though there was a physical distance, there was never a relationship distance," she said.
In her eulogy, Wendy called her husband her rock, her backbone and said she always felt safe with him.
She remembered Brad as someone who noticed the little things in life, even something small such as someone changing their hairstyle. He could be stubborn but he was also quiet, kind and gentle and loved to shoot off silly little jokes.
Longtime friend and fellow trucker Harold Shoemaker recalls that "he was a very likeable guy, everyone's friend."
He also recalled Brad's perfectionism related to his job and his truck.
"He was very, very picky," said Harold. "Everything had to be just so…always his number one priority."
Brad also loved to customize his semi, adding special enhancements, "his own personal little touches." When Brad came rumbling down the road in a big rig, everyone knew it was him.
He also talked about one of Brad's more unusual regular cargos: Canada geese.
Hundreds of wild geese were rounded up in Toronto parks every year because of overpopulation, loaded onto Brad's truck and driven to a bird sanctuary where they were released.
"He took such an interest (in the geese)," said Harold, "such pride and such care."
Elmira Union Cemetery
Waterloo Regional Municipality
Created by: Allan Dettweiler
Record added: Jan 27, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 84058022