Billy Lee “Bill” Braden, 82, of Wamego, died Wednesday at his home.
The family provided some of the following information.
Bill was born on Sept. 21, 1931, in Eureka to John Mordecai and Helen Ruth Braden. He was raised on the family farm south of Eureka where he enjoyed raising horses, which helped pay his way to college. His favorite horse was a Palomino named “Flicka.” He loved going on milk runs for the local creamery with his dad. He went to Eureka High School and played the clarinet in the Tornado band. Some of his favorite memories are of the homestead.
He left for Emporia State University in 1949, where he earned a degree in biology and was a member of the Beta Beta Beta biology and Phi Lambda Epsilon chemistry honors fraternities. In 1954, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he was a member of the Medical Corps as an ambulance driver in Alaska. He was honorably discharged in 1956 and began medical school at the University of Kansas Medical School in Kansas City, where he was a member of the Phi Chi medical fraternity. He was always grateful for the GI bill that helped pay his way through school. Bill met his future wife, Elizabeth “Huann” Armstrong, where she was doing pediatric rotations as a nurse at KU Med Center in 1959. In 1960, he received his doctorate of medicine.
Bill and Huann were married on July 5, 1959, and lived in Kansas City, Kan. They moved to Wichita, where he did his internship at St. Francis Hospital from 1960 to 1961. They moved to Wamego in 1961, where he started his family practice with Dr. E.W. Chrisman. After Dr. Chrisman left 15 months later, Bill practiced alone until he persuaded his former med school classmate, Lou Borgendale, to join him in 1963. Dr. L.A. Clark joined the practice in late 1964. Bill was active in helping start the new Wamego City Hospital, which opened in 1970, where he was chief of staff multiple times.
The family moved to an 80-acre farm west of Wamego in 1971, where he loved raising Galloway cattle and had a peach and apple orchard and a large garden. They moved back to town in 1978, where he still grew fruit trees.
Bill was a dedicated family doctor still doing house and night calls and hospital rounds twice a day until his retirement. He was a charter member and medical director of Wamego Community Hospice and with the family’s help delivered Sunday meals for the homebound patients. He was the county coroner several times. He was very proud of establishing a free clinic with the help of county health nurses. He served as a preceptor for medical students for 25 years. He retired in 2000, and was honored by Wamego City Hospital for 39 years of service. He continued to have very special relationships with his former patients.
Bill loved music, especially Celtic music. He would even get his clarinet out from time to time. Bill was active in Lions Club and a member and former administrative board member of Wamego United Methodist Church. He also helped with the Red Cross Bloodmobile and even gave 25 units of blood over the years. He was a mentor for Big Brothers, Big Sisters. He was honored by Modern Woodmen in 1985 as Citizen of the Year. He became active in men’s Bible study, morning coffee and Heritage Club in his later years.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his son, Lance, who passed away in January 2004.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Huann; and his two sons, Stuart and wife Ann of Mission, and Chris and wife Anna of Wamego; three grandchildren, Elizabeth Ann, Collin Stuart, and Kinsley Lynae; and two step-grandchildren, Kristin Lea and Kimberly Ann. Bill and Huann were also foster parents for Alma Lister from 1967 to 1969.
A memorial service for Dr. Braden will be at 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 12, at the First United Methodist Church of Wamego. A private family inurnment will be at a later date. The family will greet friends during a visitation from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Stewart Funeral Home in Wamego. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Emporia State Biology Department or Heart of America Hospice of Topeka, left in care of Stewart Funeral Home, P.O. Box 48, Wamego, KS 66547.