After a 21-year battle and six encounters with cancer, Bradley Dean Yantis, 59, of Olathe, KS, was ultimately healed, meeting Jesus face-to-face on Saturday, July 18th, 2020 surrounded by his immediate family during his last breaths on Earth.
Brad’s life reflected the kindness, compassion, gentleness and love of his Maker. Brad’s family’s prayer is to keep sharing his stories, sense of humor and desire to encounter people as they are, and to celebrate Brad’s genuine passion for the Lord in the years ahead.
Brad was born on September 19, 1960, to James and Frances (Hall) Yantis. He grew up in Iowa: Marshalltown, Garwin, Green Mountain and back to Marshalltown. During this time, his mom was his first grade teacher and he later graduated in the class of 1979.
Brad’s Dad, James, came from a family of 13 children and most of them and their children grew up in Iowa or Missouri, so the Yantis had many wonderful reunions with all the cousins, aunts and uncles. Grandma Yantis and Grandma Hall died before Brad was born. All the relatives talked so highly of them; all couldn’t wait to see them in heaven. Brad is experiencing those two ladies now. What a thrill!
Growing up, Brad loved sports from a young age and competed in many, including track, football and basketball. He and his sister were very competitive in fun loving ways. They loved picking on each other on vacations and always pushed their Dad to get a motel with a swimming pool. The pair took swimming lessons together one summer after Brad finished first grade. He was the first one to dive off the diving board with the perfect diving stance. Everyone cheered him on and it made Bev mad as she could only dunk her head in the water. He was a natural in every sport he got himself involved in (and he was left-handed at that).
He was very involved in his church, where the roots of his deep faith were established. Brad would attribute his spiritual growth to his mom and dad who taught him the ways of God, prayed daily for him and took him to church every time the doors were open. He gave his heart to Jesus in elementary school after his sister dragged him to the altar many times as a kid and was later baptized when he was 11 years old. Brad’s church had a huge youth choir. The kids would meet at the home of their youth pastor, Sue Dunham, after school each day for Bible study, where Brad and other youth were able to lead the study at times. Sue was also very instrumental in the spiritual development of Brad.
He attended Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, KS, on scholarship for football and track, earning a degree in Physical Education, Health and History, and later his Master’s in Curriculum. It was there he met the love of his life, Edianna Carlson.
One week after graduation, Brad and Edianna were married on May 28, 1983, in Lakewood, CO. The good Lord blessed them with two incredible children, Micah Marie and Brady Dean. The couple would spend the next 37 years together raising their children, adventuring all over the world, touching countless lives and inspiring many to walk with Jesus. As members of College Church of the Nazarene, Brad and Edianna went on mission trips and mentored many young people through the church.
Brad’s impact in this world is hard to measure, but perhaps the best way to quantify it is in the thousands of young people he impacted over the years through teaching coaching, driver’s ed and youth group mentorship.
Billy Graham once said, “a coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime.” During Brad’s 34-year teaching and coaching career in Arvada and Elizabeth, CO, and Olathe, KS, he was no exception.
He coached at the middle school, high school and college levels and his teams earned the highest accolades in their respective states and leagues. His players often reflect on the life lessons they learned from Brad on and off the field. In a note from one of his players to Brad, "I still remember what you said the morning before our game against Shawnee Mission Northwest. You said, 'Get to know one another and grow a good friendship with them because you'll never know when you'll see them again.' I'm going to remember that." Brad’s career also afforded him the opportunity to teach alongside his daughter for several years and coach his son in multiple sports.
One of Brad’s greatest joys was mentoring young people. Through his time as a mentor at College Church of the Nazarene and teaching Driver’s Education for many years, his gift of modeling a Godly life and always going the extra mile enriched the lives of the young people he led, inspiring many of them to do the same. He was also involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, most recently founding the group at Chisholm Trail Middle School with his daughter Micah and other teachers.
Brad loved hearing the crack of the bat at Kauffman Stadium with his son, Brady, by his side every Opening Day. He loved a good plate of lasagna and a good belly laugh with friends. If you were the new person in the group, or felt alone, Brad would make sure that didn't last long. His giggle brought joy to many over the years, evidence of his ability to find the light and hope in any circumstance.
The only thing more signature to Brad than his giggle, was his faith in God. That faith was steadfast through his journey with cancer and evident in almost any conversation with him. By NFL measure, if those six encounters with cancer were Super Bowls, he’d be a legend. To those that knew him, he certainly was.
God used Brad in so many ways. He wore many hats in his life, held many titles, but perhaps his favorite was that of “Papa” to his three joyful grandchildren, Emilia Carley, Jack James and Jamison Duane (due August 2020).
If you were lucky enough to cross Brad’s path, through the tears you’re sure to have right now, there's probably a smile crossing your face. From remembering one of his jokes, his giggle, the lengths he would go for the young people he led and the family he was so deeply proud of creating. His children and his grandchildren were truly his most prized accomplishments.
Brad is survived by a large, loving family, including his wife Edianna (Carlson) (Olathe, KS); their daughter Micah (Yantis) Fischer, her husband Corey, daughter Emilia and son Jamison (due August 2020) of (Olathe, KS); their son Brady Yantis, his wife Tara and their son Jack (Kansas City, KS); his mother, Frances (Hall) Yantis (Westminster, CO); his sister Bev (Yantis) Garmon and her husband Randy (Westminster, CO), their children Jamey (Fort Collins, CO) and Charla (Garmon) Benefield, her husband Boe, their children Carter and Anika (Boise, ID); his mother and father-in-law Ed and Maxine (Thomas) Carlson (Arvada, CO); his sister-in-law Taunia (Carlson) Shipman and her husband Phil (Hot Sulphur Springs, CO) and their children Savannah (New York City, NY), Ben (Longmont, CO) and Madison (San Diego, CA); and his brother-in-law Chuck Carlson and his wife Rhonda, their daughters Camella and Lynae (Olathe, KS); as well as many extended cousins and friends that are more like family across the globe.
Brad was preceded in death by his father, James Yantis (Marshalltown, IA) as well as many beloved aunts, uncles and cousins.
The family would like to thank Crossroads Hospice, Dr. Gary Doolittle, Dr. Isaac Johnston, Dr. Ralph Kleef, Caleb Jarratt, Jamey Garmon, Pastor Daniel Vanderpool and the army of friends, family and acquaintances who have supported them in this journey.
A celebration of life service has been planned for Saturday, August 1st at 10am at College Church of the Nazarene located at 2020 E Sheridan St, Olathe, KS 66062. The visitation will be held directly after the ceremony.
The family suggests in lieu of flowers memorial donations be made to MidAmerica Nazarene University for the Brad Yantis Memorial Scholarship Fund in support of MNU Football and Track Programs.
• Online gifts can be made at: http://www.mnu.edu/give-online
• On the “Designation Field” select “Other Designation” from the drop down menu
• When the “Other Designation” field displays enter “Brad Yantis Memorial Scholarship Fund”
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Hosea 6:3 Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains
in early spring.”