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Gary W. "Cuzin Gary" Waterstradt, age 71, of California, Mo., went to be with the Lord Saturday, February 20, 2010, at the Moniteau Care Center in California, surrounded by his loving family.
Gary was born October 6, 1938, in St. Joseph, Mo., to Oscar W. and Dortha Beatrice (Maddox) Waterstradt, both of whom preceded him in death. Gary attended school in St. Joseph, Mo., and Chicago, Ill., and graduated from North Kansas City High School, North Kansas City, Mo. He later attended Longview College, Kansas City, Mo., where he studied accounting. Following high school, Gary joined the United States Marine Corps, and served during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and during the Vietnam Conflict. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant during his 17 years in the Corps. He then joined the United States Air Force Reserve where he spent another six years, and retired from the Armed Services after 23 years of service. Gary loved the Lord, his family, his church, his Marine Corps, his country and all his many friends. Gary married the love of his life and best friend, Janet K. Elliott, in 1963. Gary's philosophy was "to make your wife your best friend because once the kids have left home, if you don't, you'll be sitting across the table from a total stranger." He was employed with the U.S. Postal Service; Van Chevrolet; Father and Sons Shoes, where he was the store manager; and Foreman and Men's, where he was assistant manager. He and his wife moved to California, Mo., so they could take care of her parents. Gary worked for KZMO Radio Station in California, where he acquired the nickname "Cuzin Gary" by P.L. Jobe, his wife's cousin. He also worked for Shryack Hirst Grocery Company and Dillards. He worked as many as five part time jobs at once to support his family. While living in Grandview, Mo., Gary served his community as a member of the Grandview Jaycee's, Grandview V.F.W., Grandview Park Board, and was a coach for boy's SSJAA football and baseball, as well as the YMCA football program. He served as Deacon in his church, where he also played guitar in the Praise and Worship Team. After moving to the California/Jefferson City area he joined the Marine Corps League, was a Deacon in his church and did many things to help his family and friends. Outside the Marine Corps, the job he loved the most was helping his grandson, Austin Payton, on the Bonnie Plants truck. Survivors include his wife: Janet, of the home; daughter: Cheryl Payton and husband Randy of California; son: Kevin W. Waterstradt and wife Robin of Athens, Mich.; daughter: Kerri Jenkins and husband Daniel of California; seven grandchildren: Franczhesca Martinez of California, Cristina Martinez of Kansas City, Kan., Austin Payton and wife Laura of Holts Summit, Alex Jenkins and wife Ashley of Columbia, Joshua, Kayla and Patrick Waterstradt of Athens, Mich.; six great-grandchildren: Thea Payton, Brody Reece, Gavin Roberson, Kayelee Payton, James Roberson and Grady Payton. Friends will be received from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday at the Houser-Millard Funeral Home. Funeral services celebrating Gary's life will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, February 25, 2010, at the House of Prayer Family Church with Pastor James Jackson, Rev. Harold Powell and Nathan Ortega officiating. Interment with full military honors will follow in the New Hope Cemetery near Marion. Memorial contributions are suggested to any charity helping the families of our fallen heroes in all branches of the service in Gary's name. Arrangements are under the direction of HOUSER-MILLARD Funeral Directors, 2613 W. Main, (573) 636-3838. Condolences may be left for the family online at www.millardfamilychapels.com, 636-3838.