William (Bill) Broadie passed from his earthly life to his eternal heavenly home on January 21, 2021, after a six-week battle against COVID-19. Bill was born February 26, 1948, in Ashland, KS, to Elmer (Raymond) and Leta (Luke) Broadie. Bill graduated from Ashland High School in 1966. He was a life-long resident of Ashland, KS, a fourth-generation cattleman, and a proud United States Marine.
Bill loved being a cowboy. Stories of a young Bill working alongside his father and “helping” out on the ranch were frequently retold. One story often heard was of a very young Bill looking up at one of the cowboys and saying, “Do you want to have some fun?” At that moment, he spurred his Shetland pony, Dynamite Dan, as they went bucking through the middle of the herd “whoopin’ and a hollarin’” and scattering the entire herd after a full morning of gathering. Bill often said it was a good thing it took several hours to regather the cattle; otherwise his father would have killed him. Bill often told stories about growing up on the ranch as a kid. He had several mishaps, including being kicked or runover by cattle or getting bucked off his horse. The first aid administered to him by the cowboys were phrases like “I guess they won’t hurt you in football,” or “Get up it will make you tough,” or “It’s a long way from your heart.” These valuable lessons learned on the ranch of toughness, determination, perseverance, and hard work were reinforced as a Marine and carried him throughout his life.
The next chapter in his life was set in motion when Bill enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. During Bill’s deployment to Viet Nam, he was wounded twice. The second one resulted in the amputation of his leg. To put it simply, his air evacuation did not go smoothly. As his good friend Rod Raso stated, “Who the hell else can get shot, dropped out of the helicopter that is supposed to be evacuating him, and still survive?” Bill spent six months in the Philadelphia Naval Hospital recovering from his injuries. He was awarded two Purple Heart Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Viet Nam Service Medal, and Presidential Unit Citation. He received an honorable medical discharge in 1968.
Bill returned to Ashland and married his high school sweetheart, Linda Kaye Clark, on July 27, 1968. They enrolled at Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS, to pursue their educational goals and started their family with the birth of their son, William Barrett on June 8, 1970. Graduating from college, in the spring of 1971, they returned to Ashland to partner with his father & grandfather on the ranch. They gave birth to daughter, Amy Lynette on March 27, 1974.
Bill’s determination for leading a full and independent life remained a focal point of his character. He resumed his normal activities of riding horses, roping, doctoring and taking care of cattle, as well as (reluctantly) learning to drive a tractor again, mastering all of these tasks with his wood leg. At one point, his prosthetist wanted to understand why he was breaking so many wood legs. After spending a couple of days on the ranch with Bill, he quickly understood and came up with a reinforced leg, designed to better withstand the cowboy life. Bill never used his disability as an excuse. He never complained about the hand he was dealt. He led by example and taught his children to get up, keep going, and work hard. If he felt that a pity party was carrying on too long, he would offer a spare leg for a kick in the butt to get you going.
In 1988, Bill joined on with Superior Livestock Auction, a young company that was to revolutionize the cattle industry. Setting out to build a new career with Superior, he saw the benefit for both producers and livestock in this model of bringing the traditional cattle auction to satellite TV. As a representative for Superior Livestock Auction, his circle of business associates grew nationally. Bill personally marketed over 500,000 head of cattle over the course of 32 years and created a team that has collectively marketed over 2.2 million head of cattle. He helped build the foundation and reputation of this young company into a nationally recognized and successful marketing option for ranchers.
After 9/11, Bill saw the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq lingering on. Always driven to serve, Bill was moved to do something after seeing the press vilify the troops, just as they had done to the Viet Nam veterans. Combining his two life passions, the beef industry and his brothers and sisters in arms, Bill wanted to show his appreciation to them by serving steak dinners to the troops and their families. Bill, along with a core group of dedicated and committed friends, successfully created the All-American Beef Battalion. Since April 26th, 2008, they have served approximately 418,000 service men, women, and families in 28 states. Bill was continually overwhelmed by the commitment, dedication, and love given by the men and women who have selflessly sacrificed countless hours to the beef battalion, in order to fulfill their mission of serving ribeye steaks to the troops.
Bill will always be remembered for his toughness, generosity, and his ability to just “call it like it was”.