Beloved business owner laid to rest
Tow truck operators pay homage to Wellbaum
The Monett community turned out in force on Thursday to pay final respects to a beloved community member and business owner, Brandon Wellbaum.
Wellbaum, 48, owner of Autorama in Monett, was killed Oct. 7 while responding to a call for service five miles east of Goodman, when the eastbound wrecker he was operating on Hwy. C traveled off the right side of the road and overturned.
Wellbaum was born July 24, 1973, to Gary and Mary Wellbaum, and attended Monett schools, graduating in 1991.
He spent his entire working life assisting his grandfather and father, Gary, at Wellbaum Tire and West 60 Salvage in Monett. He purchased the business in 2018, renaming it Autorama.
He enjoyed attending car shows and cruise-ins where vintage vehicles were showcased. He was a member of the Monett Church of the Nazarene and Masonic Lodge No. 129 A.F. & A.M.
He and Nikole West were united in marriage July 27, 2010, at Jolly Mill.
He is survived by his wife, Nikole, of the home; his boys, Tyler Culbertson and girlfriend Kenzee Arndt, Jeremy Worm and wife Crissy and Michael Wellbaum and wife Kristen; two grandsons, Wyatt and Waylon; his father, Gary Wellbaum; brothers,
Shelby Wellbaum, Dustin West and wife Christy, Matt Bailey and Jake Bailey; and a host of extended family members and friends.
Many friends and family members paid special tribute to Wellbaum. Justin Nash painted hot rod flames on the casket, leaving space for visitors to leave short written messages. Some tributes at the funeral home included a nod to his career, incorporating hand tools among the floral arrangements.
Approximately 600 visitors signed the guestbook during the visitation.
Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. at the Monett Church of the Nazarene, with the Revs. Josh Lein, Chris Carver and Kendal Arndt officiating.
The funeral procession stretched for miles, and included dozens of classic cars, approximately 50 tow trucks and drivers, Monett ambulance, fire and police personnel who frequently worked local wrecks with Wellbaum, and a plethora of family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances wishing to pay their respects to the man they called husband, father, brother, uncle, son and friend. Tributes on social media recall his ready smile, sense of humor, his kindness and his deep love of family.
He was transported to the funeral service and the cemetery in a vintage 1964 Cadillac hearse. Approximately 350 people attended the service at Church of the Nazarene in Monett on Thursday. He was laid to rest at the Monett I.O.O.F. Cemetery, where a bagpiper led the pallbearers to the gravesite, piping a haunting rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Arrangements were under the direction of Buchanan Funeral Home in Monett.
Memorial contributions may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children or the Masonic Lodge No. 129 A.F. & A.M. in care of the funeral home.