In Memory of




Obituary for Shirley Kathleen Conrad

Lovingly written by the family...

Shirley Kathleen (Kathi) Conrad, known as a "classy, sassy lady", passed away peacefully on December 22, 2022, a day after celebrating her 91st birthday with family members in Joplin.

Born to Charles and Juanita Bradrick in Cheney, Kansas, and raised in Pittsburg, Kansas, she preferred that everyone call her Kathi. She was a woman of wide-ranging skills and talents, many of which came into play while raising six rambunctious children and working alongside her loving husband, Ralph William (Bill) Conrad, whom she had met in college. They were married and she joined the Catholic Church on October 6, 1951, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Pittsburg, Kansas. Right after that, Bill left to serve in Korea. When he returned, Bill worked in the fields of education and journalism in Wyoming, Kansas, and Colorado. Together they owned and operated a camera and photography business in Durango, Colorado, and eventually owned and published the Palisade Tribune, in the area of Grand Junction, Colorado. Between those endeavors, Kathi served as reporter and photographer for The Joplin Globe (where Bill was an editor), and they both were involved with smaller local papers out west. Upon the death of her husband, Bill, Kathi returned to take up residence in Joplin, where she would be more centrally located to her children. She attended Mass with her daughters at St. Mary's in Joplin and Sacred Heart in Webb City, singing with the St. Mary's choir for a time. Her last residence was at Joplin Gardens nursing home.

Kathi had an undeniably creative streak, drawing and painting and even working as the Art Director for a local television station in Grand Junction, Colorado. She tried her hand at all manner of handicrafts, from sewing clothes for her family, to needlepoint and embroidery, and more recently, designing beautiful, original quilted pieces to exhibit at local shows, often imbuing them with literary themes.

Possessed of a sharp wit and a love of clever word-play, Kathi liked to tell stories about growing up in Kansas during the Great Depression and sharing what she had learned from the many books she collected. On top of all of this, she was a fabulous cook and could produce about a billion words a minute on an unpowered manual typewriter.

Kathi is survived by her brothers, Bill and Jim Bradrick, and by her children Mary Castleberry, Chris, Mike and Pat Conrad, and Susan Guthrie, a cousin, Sandra Olbert, plus a full complement of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She has been preceded in death by her husband and parents, a brother, Charles Bradrick, Jr., and her eldest son, Ted Conrad. The remaining family members are planning to gather in the spring to celebrate her amazing life.

Kathi's body will be cremated and a funeral Mass for her will be held at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 32nd Street and Central City Road, on Tuesday, January 10, at 5:15 p.m.