Bradley C. Blakeway
November 27, 1938 – December 4, 2022
VISITATION: Saturday, January 7, 2023, 9:30AM, followed by a 10:30AM SERVICE at West Center Chapel.
Interment to follow at Evergreen Cemetery in Beatrice, NE, at 3PM.
To view a livestream of the service, go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button.
Memorials are suggested to Texas A&M University – the Blakeway Scholarship Fund.
It is with deep sorrow that we announce the death of Bradley Charles Blakeway. Brad died Sunday, December 4, 2022, surrounded by his family and caregivers. Brad was born November 27, 1938, to Imogene (Wittulski) and Elden Blakeway in Rawlins, Wyoming. The family moved to Beatrice, Nebraska, when Brad was a toddler. His father, Elden, died in a tragic work accident when Brad was just 7 years old. Imogene raised Brad and his beloved older sister Cherryl by herself in Beatrice. After graduating from Beatrice High School, Brad attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. When his family asked him why a Nebraska boy would choose to attend Texas A&M, he said that someone from Beatrice, who was a student at A&M, came to talk to his class, and he decided right then and there that Texas A&M was the place for him. He was a member of Squadron 7 of the famous Texas A&M Corps of Cadets for 3 years. Even though money was tight, Brad’s mother made sure that both Brad and his sister went to college. Since there was no money for a car or for bus tickets, Brad would hitchhike to A&M from Beatrice. He often told his daughters stories of hitchhiking to and from school and all of the adventures he had along the way – they could hardly imagine their Dad walking and hitching rides all the way from Nebraska to Texas and back again.
Brad was a very hard worker, and he had to take a year off of school to earn the tuition he needed to finish his degree. During his year off, he worked at Peter Kiewit in Omaha, Nebraska as a construction laborer – it was very hard work and helped strengthen his resolve to get back to A&M and finish his degree. He met his future wife, Sandra (Deckert), during his year off of school in 1960. He returned to school that fall, and he and Sandra married on July 1, 1961, while Brad was home on summer break. Sandra finished her degree at the University of Nebraska Omaha and joined Brad in College Station while he finished his degree. Brad graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering in January of 1963. His oldest daughter, Rebecca Lynn (Beckie), was born in May of 1963 in Omaha. Brad worked for a short time in Red Oak, Iowa, for the US Corps of Engineers, and then at Wilson Concrete in Omaha, Nebraska. It was there that he met his future business partners Tom Cory and Paul Ramm. The three men wanted to open their own precast concrete business and decided the most favorable business climate and the location was Jacksonville, Arkansas. Arkansas Precast Corporation opened in 1968. Brad and Sandra built a log home in the country outside of Jacksonville in 1973, and they welcomed their second daughter, Sarah Jamie, that year as well. Jamie never went by Sarah; she was always just Jamie to her family. The partners formed a second business together, a real estate development and investment company, Rablaco Corporation, in 1980. Brad and Sandra divorced in 1981, and Sandra and Jamie moved to Denver, Colorado, in 1984.
Brad married Patti (Britt) in 1991, and they lived in his house in Sherwood, Arkansas, for many years. Brad was a member of the Sylvan Hills United Methodist Church; he volunteered on several committees at the church. He also volunteered to read to elementary school students several days a week for a few years. Brad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in his early 60s. He was fortunate to enjoy good health for many years. He was able to spend time with his family, his daughters and enjoy his grandchildren, who he loved very, very much. He was able to travel and make memories before the disease took his mobility. After a fall at home in 2017, Brad came to Omaha in order to receive the best medical care available from Parkinson’s Disease specialists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the great staff at All Midlands Health Services home healthcare. His declining health made it impossible for him to return to his beloved “farm” in Arkansas to feed his cows and take care of his horses. Being in Omaha was a blessing in disguise as it made it possible for him to live at home with his sister rather than live in a nursing home. Brad’s second marriage ended in December of 2019.
To say that Brad loved the Texas A&M Aggies would be an understatement! He bled maroon! Anyone who knew Brad knew that he was devoted to his Aggies. At A&M, when Brad graduated, he was told to go out and make more Aggies, and so from the time Beckie was 10 he would take her to all of the Aggie home football games – partly as a recruiting tool, and partly because he loved to see the Aggies playing in Kyle Field. Jamie joined the football trips when she was about 5 years old. If he couldn’t make it to a game, and it wasn’t on TV, he would drive until he could pick up a radio station playing the game. Brad was a member and Past President of the Little Rock A&M Club. His daughter Beckie and her husband James Rago both graduated from Texas A&M in 1985, and 3 of his grandchildren (so far) have also graduated from A&M. Jessica Rago Crotty, Chrystina Rago Ellermeyer, and Matthew Rago graduated from Texas A&M in 2009, 2013, and 2017. Brad was proud of all of them and very grateful they were able to be Aggies. Brad used to tell his daughters he would pay for them to go to any college they wanted to – as long as it was A&M…he was only half joking since he was proud to send Jamie to The University of Colorado Denver. If there is an Aggie Club in Heaven, we know that Brad is there right now, probably discussing the next football season.
Brad would have loved to have been a cowboy – he loved riding horses and owned several in his life. He loved to live in the country and had bought what he liked to call “the farm” in Faulkner County, Arkansas. On those 320 acres, he enjoyed dabbling in raising cattle and keeping several horses. His favorite outfit was his Levi’s, a button-down shirt, boots, and a cowboy hat. When Beckie was a little girl, she remembers a child stopping to stare at her Dad and telling his mom – “Look, there’s a cowboy!”. We are sure that Brad loved that. Brad was a true friend and would help anyone who needed it if he could.
Parkinson’s is a cruel disease. It robbed Brad of his mobility and a measure of his freedom, and he depended on his round-the-clock caregivers. We are eternally grateful for the wonderful care all of his caregivers from All Midlands Health Services gave him in the last years of his life. Brad’s daughter Jamie passed away on October 23, 2022. We know it broke his heart. We are comforted that Brad was able to mourn his daughter in person and that she was waiting for him in Heaven when he passed away.
Brad is preceded in death by his daughter Sarah Jamie Blakeway Kelly; sister Cherryl Lynn Blakeway; and parents, Imogene and Elden Blakeway. He is survived by his daughter, Rebecca (Beckie) Lynn Blakeway Rago; son-in-law James Rago; grandchildren: Jessica (Matthew) Crotty, Chrystina (William) Ellermeyer, Matthew Bradley Rago, and Dalton Michael Kelly; and great-grandchildren, Grace Lee Crotty and William Bradley Ellermeyer.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Texas A&M University scholarship fund that has been set up in his name.