Brad's memorial services were held at Trinity Lutheran Church on 11/10/2013. For those of you who where not able to attend, Brad's family and friends have posted their thoughts in remembrance of Brad.
Robert Bradley Federspiel, 32, died at his family home in Delray Beach, on November 5, 2013. He will be sorely missed by his large loving family, and his many many friends. Even as a baby he made friends wherever he went… he would smile and wave wildly at anyone and everyone, and would quickly engage even strangers to talk and play. All through his childhood years, then the teen and young adult years he made friends wherever he went.
He loved sports. Many sports. But his passion was wakeboarding. Starting at age 16 on a friends boat, he quickly learned enough wakeboarding tricks to be in competitions and at age 19 won the title of #1 in the World Cable Boarding Championships. The world of wakeboarding brought many new friends into his life, most of which he still has today. All of them supported and encouraged each other in learning new tricks, then trying them at competitions.
Brad loved surfing with his friends. But surfing with his dad (Bob) on our family trips to Costa Rica was a special bonding time for them. He even taught his little sister Becky how to surf.
Brad loved traveling on the many vacations each year we did as a family. These trips included snowboarding in Colorado in winters, motor home camping out west, fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling in the Florida Keys and Bahamas. Brad and his Dad were perfect “dive buddies”. Brad was great at catching lobster, but didn't like to eat them… how perfect.
Brad loved summers at our North Carolina cabin near Lake Glenville. More wakeboarding. More friends. He would bring as many friends as would fit in our little cabin, and Mom Cindy loved cooking for them, and hearing about their adventures on the lake, hiking, jumping off waterfalls, and horseback riding.
In 2011, Brad met the love of his life, Kellie Stasiak from Lebanon, Maine. They lived in Maine along with her 11-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn. Brad and Kellie blessed us with a baby boy, Tyler Robert Federspiel, in May. Tyler is now five months old, and will surely remember his Daddy through our large loving family, and tales told by his many friends and those who loved him.
Brad lost his dad, Bob Federspiel in October 2005, eight years ago. It has been very tough for him, as he adored his Dad. He continued to struggle with this loss, yet remembered his Dad as the kind, caring, and nurturing father he aspired to be for his own baby son, Tyler.
In Brad's earlier years, his Dad taught him golf and tennis. In golf, by age 8 he could outdrive his mother (that's when his mom quit golf). At age 1, his Dad built a tennis court at our home. By age 2, as a toddler in diapers, he could almost wield his Dad’s heavy wooden racket. Even “Pop-Pop” Jack Federspiel practiced with little Brad. A good player all through high school, he was the only freshman on the varsity tennis team. He had a killer serve like his dad, resulting in the purchase of his own racket-stringing machine, and charged his dad (a special family rate) to restring all their rackets. ;- )
This and other financial endeavors led him to major in “Entrepreneurship” in college. Brad's goal was to finish his college degree, but life seemed to keep getting in the way. He wanted us to be proud of him. If you could only know how proud we always were, as he was such a kind, loving, and caring son to us and brother to little sister Becky. Brad is survived by his mother Cindy, son Tyler, fiancé Kellie Stasiak and sister, Becky (Jesse) Winner. He will be sorely missed by of us.
Sincerely, his Mom, Cindy.
Brad was the best big brother I ever could have asked for. From the second I was born, we did pretty much everything together. As a baby, he was my favorite toy to play with. On family vacations, we always had each other for entertainment. Whether it was having competitions with each, like who could dunk under the water in the freezing waters of Alaska more times than the other; or who could bounce the highest on the back bed of the RV as we drove over the bumpy, mountainous terrain out West; or just hanging out roasting smores over the campfire, we always found a way to have fun together.
Brad was 3 years older than me, and while most other siblings spent their younger years trying to get away from their annoying younger siblings, Brad was never like that. He always included me in everything, whether I even wanted to be or not. When we were little, he was my constant friend and companion no matter where we went. As he entered the high school years, he would literally wake me up after I'd already gone to sleep and tell me to get dressed again, just so that I wouldn't miss out on a party. When he discovered wakeboarding, he would always take me with him on the boat...and then proceed to hold me and everyone else captive for the entire day, making sure we all either at least attempted to wakeboard, or got soaked on the front of the boat. He took me everywhere with him and I always felt honored that he made such an effort to do so.
Brad loved life and never passed up an opportunity to live it. He was also always so adventurous and knew how to push you to your limits. I can't tell you how many Double Black Diamond ski slopes he tried dragging me down...and only on my 2nd day of snowboarding ever, no less; or how many waves he pushed me into on a surfboard before I even knew what was happening. He was always amazing at everything he did, and figured I must be too. He made me better at everything by just trying to keep up with him, but I was never as good as him at any of it. He just had an amazing, natural talent for everything! He had the natural ability to pick up any sport he tried, and exceed in it immediately. When he picked up tennis, he ended up training in Macy's tennis camp with the Williams sisters and Andy Roddick. When he picked up wakeboarding, he shot up to number 1 on the cable in no time. He could ride anything that had a board attached to it and wakeboarding became his true passion. Despite being so good however, he never passed up the opportunity to help others. He truly enjoyed teaching anyone who was willing to learn, and helping them to exceed right along with him. He was the first to try and include everyone he could in whatever it was that he was doing.
He had the best heart of anyone I know. He would literally give you the shirt off your back if he thought you needed or wanted it. He always put others first, and even if he had nothing to give, he would always find a way to help.
Brad recently became a father. Growing up, I always knew he would make an amazing father. He loved kids and was great with them. In his little time with his baby, Tyler, you could see how much he loved him and how happy he made him. Tyler looks exactly like Brad, as I am sure everyone can tell, and Brad was already teaching him his love for sports and the outdoors, even at such a young age. On his first Father's Day, Brad and Kelly brought Tyler camping. This summer at the family reunion, we all took him on a hike through Rough Run in N.C. Brad just seemed so excited to introduce him to everything he could. It is heartbreaking to think that he won't be there to teach him all the things he was good at and loved. So, I guess that's where all his friends and family come in; to teach Tyler everything Brad would have loved to.
I will miss my brother and my friend more than I can say and I can't imagine never seeing his amazing smile again. I will even miss his devious grin he would wear right before he was about to get you to do something crazy with him, like jumping off waterfalls or kayaking through a field of Christmas trees in the rain.
Most of all, I just hope he knew how much I loved him and just how much he will be missed. Hopefully, he is with our dad and they are enjoying a Goombay after a long day of surfing together. That is how I wish to picture him now.
Since hearing the saddening news of Brad’s passing I’ve been reflecting on the influence he has had on my life. I also wonder how many others he has impacted the same way he has impacted me.
In my reflection there are many ways that Brad made me into who I am today, but specifically I can think of three things.
First, Brad taught me the importance of friendship. As I looked around at the funeral I realized that every single person there I met because of Brad, and I am confident to say that many others could say the same.
I first moved to FL when I was 11. Being the new kid in town is always difficult but fortunately for me our first home in Delray Beach was directly behind Brad and Becky’s Grandparents’ house. Within the first week of living there I was outside playing with a toy bow and arrow set and inadvertently gotten an arrow stuck high up in a tree. While staring up, trying to figure out how to dislodge the arrow, up and behold 12 year old Brad came walking up. Without any hesitation he scaled to the top and freed my arrow. Mind you he was shirtless and barefooted, a look he mastered into his 30s. We instantly became best of buds.
As I think back on how we met, I wonder how many others met Brad with a similar story of generosity. To this day I still do not know anyone with as many friends as Brad. He just had a way with people, and everyone wanted to be around him. And he cherished those friendships. So much so that growing up I didn’t know a close guy friend that he didn’t try to set up with his sister Becky. His own sister! I know guys that’ll rough you up for even looking at their sister. That is how important his friends were to him.
The second major influence he had on my life was teaching me confidence. No matter what Brad attempted in his life he approached it with confidence. But not with an arrogance. There was always humility. Whether it was…. tennis, soccer, surfing, skateboarding, wakeboarding, wakeskating, cableboarding, snowboarding, kite surfing, horseback riding, go karting, trampolining, scuba diving, spear fishing, fly fishing, or boating…. He mastered all of those talents with such confidence.
Anything he touched he excelled at. Many of us tried to keep up with him on some of those thing, but none of us could remotely do all of those thing at his level. But he was never aggressively competitive with us either. He encouraged us, and pushed us to try to do what he was capable of.
Which leads me to my last point of influence, Brad taught me how to have an adventurous spirit. It’s a trait that I’m sure he picked up from his parents and their family trips around the world. Even after those trips dwindled and he had to start paying for his own way, he continued on. Somehow he would figure out a way to go from North Carolina to Costa Rica...even to the Philippines, with only $50 to his name. He always found a way and knew how important exploration was to the soul.
I was lucky enough to join him on many of those trips. I can remember one snowboarding trip a group of us took to Colorado. Now mind you, my only experience snowboarding was on the ice capped hills of western North Carolina. Within an hour of being in Vail, CO, we found ourselves in the deep backcountry, getting off a lift to a double black diamond. I was terrified. But there was no “warming up” with Brad. So, as we started to head towards the marked entrance of the trail, he stopped, buckled up and looked down into a snowy thick forest below him. He asked me “You ready?” Thinking he was joking I asked, “Isn’t the trail over there?” He replied, “We are going through here,” smiled at me and said “Just do it. It will make you better.” And with that he jumped off a 10 foot snow bank and disappeared into the deep forest. With such resentment I had no choice but to follow. I hated to admit it, but he was right. That very next day I felt like a pro on the (MARKED) double black diamond runs.
That’s the adventurous spirit in which he traveled…. “Just do it. It will make you better.”
Friendship, confidence, and an adventurous spirit. These are all things that I learned from Brad. And those things shaped me into the person I am today. I will be forever grateful to his impact on my life. I only hope that one day his son, Tyler, will also know the importance of these traits.
If you would have asked me when I was 13, “Who do you look up to?” or “Who is your role model?” I wouldn’t have told you some sports star or even an adult. I would have told you...Brad.