Kenneth Frank Shrader
March 29, 1926 - November 29, 2020
Our dear, sweet, Dad loved a good story, telling them and hearing them. We loved hearing how he would tie snakes to bushes to scare his sisters growing up in Illinois. Or, how he would get his Boy Scout troop to hike uphill by telling the boys there was a Coke machine at the top. We imagine Dad, Kenneth Frank Shrader, is busy in heaven catching up on all the stories, back with the love of his life, our beautiful mom, Marian, and enjoying the family and friends he loved so dearly and thought of as his greatest treasure. Dad passed on November 29, 2020, at the age of 94 with two of his sons, Steven and Dennis by his side, and his other children, Michael, Maria, and Marguerite, holding him in their hearts.
Dad was born March 29, 1926, in Moline, Illinois, alongside the Mississippi River, to parents, Marie and Frank. By all accounts, Dad was an active boy who had a bit of the devil in him. He preferred the outdoors, wasn’t crazy about school, enjoyed playing football, loved his family, and had fun teasing his sisters, Shirley and Jean. It was in Illinois on the Mississippi River that he learned to swim with his head above water, a habit he kept throughout his life. He said it was necessary to push the garbage out of his way as he swam. Dad finished his ninth grade year, but dropped out to go to work for John Deere Tractor Works in Moline. In 1943, as World War II waged, Dad joined the U.S. Navy. Being just 17, he could enlist only with his father’s consent, which Grandpa granted only after Dad agreed to not go into the US Marines. They would later come to discover that Dad suffered greatly with seasickness. After basic training and gunnery school, Dad was assigned to the newly commissioned USS Clovis Victory (VC2-27) as a gunner with the Seaman Guard in the Pacific Theater. Dad would tell us the story of being so seasick at his position at the front of the ship that they couldn’t raise him on the radio, and sent shipmates to go fi nd him curled up on the deck. Dad was mustered out of the Navy in the San Francisco Bay Area at Fleet City. While waiting to be discharged, he met Marian Castro, literally and figuratively picking her up at a roller skating rink. We always loved hearing how Mom fell down in front of Dad and he, doing the gentlemanly thing, helped her to her feet.
Mom and Dad were married May 8, 1948, and sett led down in Hayward, CA. Their first son, Steven, was born soon after. Michael, Dennis, Maria, and Marguerite followed from the 1950s to the 1960s. With a growing family to provide for, Dad went to work for the Defense Department at Alameda Naval Air Station as a rigger (Dad was a master at knot tying) working on aircraft carriers and other US Naval ships. Wonderful stories came from the antics of Dad and the colorful crew he worked with at the Air Station. He would go on to work 39 years at the Alameda Naval Air Station, retiring from federal service in 1983. Dad never shirked from hard work, a trait he passed on to his children.
Having to support our family, Dad could not afford repairmen. He quickly learned all types of skills, including carpentry, plumbing, and car repair. He was not afraid to learn new skills. Lots of living took place in Dad’s 94 years. He absolutely loved the outdoors, especially the mountains. And, both Mom and Dad made sure to pass that appreciation of nature on to their children. We spent summers camping in Yosemite at Cunningham Flat, where we would beg Dad to swim us across the freezing Merced River on his back. He was always game. Later, Dad and Mom would fall in love with Lake Tahoe, and we would enjoy vacations at their cabin by the lake, loving every minute of it. Dad loved fishing, hiking, and exploring with his family in the old Chevy Carryall or later in his bright orange 1949 Willys Jeep.
He would always take time to nurture the passions and interests of his kids. Whether it was getting the boys involved in the Boy Scouts and joining them as the scoutmaster of the All Saints Church troop in Hayward, rooting on his youngest during middle school basketball games, providing guitar and piano lessons, or was the only parent running to give his oldest daughter a good luck hug and kiss when she graduated from Hayward High, he truly loved his family and was always there for them. Dad enjoyed gardening and could grow a car out of a tire. He always had a garden wherever they lived (even with Mom picking the squash blossoms to fry before dad could get the squash growing).
In 1989, Dad and Mom moved to Bend, Oregon, and found their little piece of heaven in a house on the rimrock facing Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters. There they had many happy years together, hosting friends and family, volunteering at the High Desert Museum and the Bethlehem Inn, and generally relishing life. After Mom’s passing in 2018, just a few months shy of their 70th anniversary, Dad continued on as best as he could. He missed Mom terribly, but he still got up early every morning, read his newspaper cover to cover, had his cinnamon roll and coffee, and watched his beloved Raiders every Sunday. They have both left a hole in our hearts that will only be filled once we are all together again. Until then we will carry Dad in our hearts and his favorite saying on our lips - “Oh well.” It was a life lived well, Dad.
Kenneth Frank Shrader is survived by his children and their spouses: Steven Shrader and wife, Peggy; Michael Shrader; Dennis Shrader and his wife, Susan; Maria; Marguerite and her husband, David. And by his grandchildren: Joshua (Vestalee), Jesse (Leah), Heather, Ashley, Sophia, Max, Grace, and Faith. And six great-grandchildren. Also by his sister, Jean, and many nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held Thursday, Oct. 21, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church at 2450 NE 27th St. in Bend, OR. A rosary will be held at 9:30 a.m. and Mass will be at 10 a.m. A reception will follow at the church.