Cover photo for Gerald F. Rader's Obituary
1937 Gerald 2021

Gerald F. Rader

February 16, 1937 — December 9, 2021

West Terre Haute

Gerald Forest Rader passed away peacefully in his home on December 9, 2021.

Gerald was born at home February 16, 1937, the only child of William Forest Rader (coal miner) and Clara Dillion Rader (mother/housekeeper). He cared for his mother in her later years before her passing. He lived his whole life in West Terre Haute and instilled a love of small-town living in his children.

Gerald started working at Dodge Drugs at a young age to help support his family due to his father’s black lung disease. His father would not let him work in the mines, so that Gerald would have a better life. He attended Valley High School then took accounting at ISU. In college, he met and married Betsy Ann Tucker and they raised three children: Diana, Donna, and Kevin, while Gerald worked for the U.S Postal Serve in WTH for over 40 years. They first remodeled his parent’s garage as their first home, then later built their own house across the street, doing all the work themselves. (Gerald and Betsy later divorced and he did not remarry.)

As a young man, Gerald was active with Civil Defense, assisting with flood relief effort many times. Gerald and his family were very proud of his service for 30 years as a volunteer master fireman, instructor, EMTA, and fire chief some years. The family was very active in the fire department auxiliary and the kids basically grew up in the firehouse. Water ball contests were a treat! Gerald liked auto racing and, for several years, the family could be found regularly at the FOP track in Terre Haute or nearly circuits where the kids raced quarter midgets. He taught the kids good driving skills. The family also spent many years enjoying CB radio.

Gerald loved camping, fishing (especially later with grandson Shaun), birdwatching, squirrel hunting with his Uncle Ernie, and anything else enjoying nature. He was the first one in the family with a koi pond. He loved organic gardening and landscaping, especially growing iris. He made his own compost and poured through seed catalogs, ordering early, and growing “enough to feed Cox’s Army,” even when he later lived alone. He also enjoyed square dancing, model trains, going to the State Fair, building various projects from scratch, spending time with his family, and watching the Wabash River at Fairbanks Park. Gerald was a longtime faithful member of Smith Park United Methodist Church, then Faith United Methodist Church. Gerald loved his church family.

Gerald was preceded in death by his parents, ex-wife Betsy, and son Kevin.  He is survived by his daughter Diana Rader O’Brien and son-in-law Sean O’Brien, and daughter Donna Rader-Cooper and son-in-law Dennis Cooper; grandchildren Shaun F. Rader and wife Ali, and Zaun Meyers and wife Kilee; great-grandchildren Ramey, Henry, Alayna, Emeryk, Elly, Kathryn, Stacy, Kaleb, and Ashley; and great-great-grandchildren April, Hadley, Nicholas, Hunter, and Hayden.

Funeral services will be held at Fitzpatrick Funeral Home, 220 North 3rd St., West Terre Haute, IN on Monday, December 13, 2021 at 1:00 PM, with Pastor Ed Gladish officiating.  Visitation is scheduled for Monday from 10:00 AM until time of service in the funeral home.  In keeping with his wishes, cremation will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to Faith United Methodist Church or The Arthritis Foundation, in his memory.

Online condolences can be left at:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gerald F. Rader, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, December 13, 2021

10:00am - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Monday, December 13, 2021

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 2

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree