William Harry Rader (1929 - 2019)

  • "Please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of your..."
  • "We were so blessed by having Bill Rader as a pastor and..."
    - Kathy & Judi Shepler
  • "Psalm 90:10 says that the days of our years are 70 years,..."
  • "My sincerest condolences to the family hope you find..."
  • "We met in youth fellowship wihile Bill and Glenn were still..."
    - Jean Brenner
Service Information
The Groffs Family Funeral Home & Crematory Services Inc
528 W Orange St
Lancaster, PA
17603
(717)-394-5300
Memorial service
Saturday, Apr. 6, 2019
12:30 PM
Lancaster Theological Seminary in the Santee Chapel,
555 West James Street
Lancaster, PA
View Map
Obituary

William Harry Rader July 28, 1929 March 17, 2019 William "Bill" Harry Rader of Dauphin, PA died Sunday morning, March 17, 2019 at Homestead Village in Lancaster, PA. Bill Rader, known by many as the longtime pastor of St. Johns UCC in Boalsburg, PA and The Shared Ministry UCC/UMC in Harrisburg, PA, was active from early on in the civil rights movement, and continued to fight against racial discrimination and social inequality until his death. With a PhD in theology and a passion for treating people fairly formed growing up serving all comers in "Rader's Market" grocery in Allentown, Bill brought a combination of faith, intellect and love of serving others to his local congregations and to the larger church and community. Some may also remember Bill as one part of the Rader Brothers Trumpet Trio. Born in Allentown on July 28, 1929 to Earl Franklin Rader and Edna Alma Rader (nee Reitz), Bill graduated from Allentown High School. After graduation from Franklin and Marshall College, where he was awarded the Williamson Medal, he completed a Masters of Divinity at Lancaster Theological Seminary. He later received a Doctorate of Theology from the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he studied under theologians Karl Barth and Oscar Cullman. His PhD thesis, published in 1978 and titled "The Church and Racial Hostility", was based on Ephesians 2:14 ("For Christ is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility"). In 1952, Bill was the first from his seminary to participate in a one-year exchange program in Oxford, PA at Lincoln University, a Historically Black University. At the end of his time at Lincoln, Bill was invited to serve as pastor of an African American congre-gation in Paragould, Arkansas for the summer months of 1953. Thereafter, while work-ing as a youth pastor in a low-income neighborhood in Cincinnati, OH, Bill met Clara Ann McKee, who joined his summer community outreach team, and they married in 1963. Bill then served as an assistant pastor at Christ United Church of Christ (UCC) in Elizabethtown, PA and as an instructor at Lancaster Theological Seminary. In 1964, Bill worked on forming a human rights commission in the area to combat racial discrimina-tion in public school hiring, taking a stand for racial justice that resulted in him losing his job as a pastor in Elizabethtown. A recent talk Bill gave on his experiences in the civil rights movement is online here: https://vimeo.com/241110700. After living in Basel from 1967 to 1970, Bill and Clara began serving local churches and church conferences for more than 40 years. Bill served from 1970 to 1992 as pastor of St. John's UCC in Boalsburg, PA and from 1992 to 1998 as pastor of The Shared Ministry, a UCC/United Methodist congregation known for urban outreach in the Allison Hill neighborhood of Harrisburg. He stayed very active in the wider church after retirement both as a pastor and as a member of several committees of Penn Central Conference (UCC). Bill also continued his theological work by translating German scho-larly works, including most notably "Drawn to Freedom: Christian Faith Today in Con-versation" written by his friend and Karl Barth's biographer, Prof. Eberhard Busch. Bill practiced what he preached and was a responsible citizen of his country and of the world. He never lost his passion for peace and justice, continuing to take an active part in recent political campaigns and protests. In 2004, Bill and his family founded Freedom Farm Community, a Christian nonprofit organization in Mount Hope, NY. Freedom Farm shares fresh produce with people who are hungry and provides a vibrant place for ministry with young people from surrounding areas such as the South Bronx and Middletown, NY who come to take part in organic farming. Beyond these roles and experiences, Bill was known for the person he was -- strong, kind, warm, generous, thoughtful, purposeful and always bearing the broadest of smiles. Bill was happiest enjoying the fellowship of others, reading theology books, play-ing his trumpet or eating a slice of lemon sponge pie. He had a passion for singing and music, whether playing with his two brothers in the Rader Brothers Trumpet Trio, using his deep bass to sing "Were You There" for Good Friday service, singing or playing in countless choirs and orchestras, or on tour (at age 86!) with Singing City in Soweto, South Africa. Bill deeply loved(and struggled for 7 years to overcome the loss of) his best friend and late wife of 49 years, Clara. In the years before her death in 2012, they could be seen every day walking hand-in-hand along the towpath beside the Susquehanna River near their home in Dauphin PA. In his final hours, Bill was surrounded by his family, and when the five grandkids arrived and huddled around him in his small shared room, he had just one word along with his big smile: "Wow." Bill is survived by his two children, Ben Rader (Elke) of Brooklyn, NY and Ann Rader (Edgar) of Middletown, NY; his two brothers, Arlo Rader (Betty) of Harrisburg, PA, and Mark Rader (Alice) of Philadelphia, PA; his sister Linda Slocum (Harold) of Ob-erlin, OH; his sisters-in-law Kay Rader and Martha McKee Keyser; along with five grandchildren: Joel, Emele, Luke, Josiah, and Micah; and 13 nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his wife Clara Ann McKee Rader, his brother Glenn Rader, and his sister-in-law Janet Rader. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 12:30 p.m. at Lan-caster Theological Seminary in the Santee Chapel, 555 West James Street, Lancaster, PA 17603. Donations in Bill's memory may be made to Lancaster Theological Seminary, 555 W. James St, Lancaster PA 17603 (either by general donation or to "The Reverends Glenn and William Rader Memorial Scholarship Fund") and/or to Freedom Farm Community, 2407 Mt Hope Road, Middletown NY 10940 (www.freedomfarmcommunity.org). Please visit Bill's Memorial Page at www.TheGroffs.com
Published in Centre Daily Times on Mar. 24, 2019
bullet Civil Rights bullet World War II
Give others a chance to express condolences. Not right now.