Saturday, July 9, 2022
10:00 AM EDT
Turowski Life Story Funeral Homes
Livonia, West of Middlebelt
30200 Five Mile Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
American Cancer Society
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Jerry Rader, it is evident that he was a people person. No greater joy could be found than whenever he was bending someone's ear or spending time with the family he so loved. He lived his life fully by extending himself selflessly to others over the years. Jerry will be deeply missed. He leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories that will forever be remembered by all who knew and loved him.
The year 1941 was marked by the fateful attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. While Franklin D. Roosevelt was leading the United States into unprecedented times, Dennis, and Geraldine (Minner) Rader welcomed home their newborn son, Gerald K, on February 17th, in West Virginia. Born one of seven children, his birth brought great joy and promise during an era of great change.
Growing up, Jerry and his siblings were accustomed to living with little resources. They spent their days outdoors exploring and looking for adventures to keep them busy during the hot summer days. Jerry found that he simply loved to talk to people and from an early age was good at finding comfort in conversation to pass the time. Always proud of his southern heritage, he learned how to cook cornbread and fix catfish during his years living in West Virginia. Some of his other favorite dishes that he learned to fix were fried green tomatoes and southern beans. When the time was right, he left his childhood home to find work in Detroit. Once he settled there, he never left. Ambitious as well as hard-working, he landed a job working at Teleway as a cook in the kitchen. There was another young woman, Shirley (Henzi) Vasher, that was working at Teleway that caught his eye. The two of them struck up a conversation and the rest was history! The happy couple married in April 1971. Jerry accepted Shirley's two children, Tom, and Shelley, from her previous marriage, as if they were his own. Later in 1973, their daughter, Tracie arrived, completing their family.
As a father, Jerry took his role seriously. He was a strong provider for his family working at Teleway and later maintenance for McDonald's and finally working as a short-order cook at a local branch of the Marriott Hotel chain in Dearborn. He absolutely loved meeting the guests at the hotel and perfecting his omelets and pasta dishes. Jerry enjoyed taking his family on trips back to West Virginia, Niagara Falls, Cedar Point in Ohio, and spending countless summer days at the family cabin. Accepting and compassionate, Jerry was a father figure to many others besides the three he raised. Many people were lucky to call him dad, pops, or papa over the years. He was proud to have a bonus family; Gracie, Savanna, Cassie, Alexia, Noel (Cookie), and Todd. Jerry loved them all dearly. He taught his children the value of both people and money. He was proud of his appearance and often pressed his shirts and pants and was always clean-shaven. Jerry instilled in them that no matter how little you may have, it is important to always look your best! Even his vehicles were hand washed and waxed. His favorite car was his 1963 pea-green Ford Falcon. It wasn't in the best of shape, but Jerry took care of it like it was made of gold. His other favorite car was his Pinto. Everyone in the neighborhood remembers the Pinto!
Jerry held many special pastimes over the years. Along with cooking, he also enjoyed fishing for catfish, tinkering with his cars, and gardening. He looked forward to his visits from his brother Ivan who often came during the Fourth of July. He would surely fix Ivan some food and take him around to all the festivities in the greater Detroit area. He also enjoyed watching old westerns and wrestling. He, Shelley, and Tom used to attend live wrestling matches at Cobo Hall and enjoyed all the fanfare! All in all, Jerry simply enjoyed the company of others. He loved to tell stories. One special one was the fact that he had survived a serious car accident as a passenger. Although he didn't have any scars to prove it, he talked about having over 250 stitches on his face!
Jerry was most proud of overcoming his addiction to alcohol. A positive role model, he led many others to sobriety. Sadly, he suffered a stroke in December 2002. As a result, he had some memory issues and weakness on the right side of his body. Throughout the past few years, he needed assistance. His niece, Mary Ann, became a special person he relied on to support him through these struggles. As time went by and his health declined, his daughter, Tracie, moved home to help him out. Eventually, he ended up needing professional care and support from nurses and aides. His family always felt loved by him and knew that he appreciated all they did for him. An exceptional person to know and to love, there is no doubt that Jerry will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by his many special friends and loved ones.
Gerald K. Rader, age 81, of Detroit, MI died on July 1, 2022, after an extended illness with onset Dementia. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Shirley Anne (Henzi) Rader, sister Rosemary (Rader) Ray, brothers; Charles Rader and Colon Rader, nephew Timothy Gaylor, brother-in-laws Jack Ray, Jr. Gaylord and Jim Crawford, and his parents. He is survived by his daughter Tracie Rader (from Detroit), stepdaughter Shelley (Vasher) Rogalski and husband Edward (from Florida), stepson Thomas Vasher (Hartland), sisters; Joann Crawford and Sheila Smith, and his brother Ivan Rader (all from West Virginia), grandchildren; Anthony Rader, Tristan Scribner, Oliver Scribner, Celestine Scribner, Ashley (Rogalski) Thompson (husband Coady), and Andrew Rogalsk (wife Meghan). Great-grandchildren Lincoln, Ayla, and Rylan, and 15 special nieces and nephews. The family would like to thank all of those who tenderly cared for their dad. A visitation will be held Friday, July 8, 2022, from 2:00-9:00 PM and one hour prior to the funeral service at 10:00 AM on Saturday, July 9, 2022, at Turowski Life Story Funeral Homes West of Middlebelt in Livonia.