Harold "Bully" Rader
While carrying on a successful career as a restaurateur, Harold G.M. Rader of Ashland, Ohio attained his widest recognition as a youth leader. “Bully” Rader, they called him Athletic events, dramatic functions, Young Men’s Christian Association programs, Sunday School work – all these and more, he found time and energy. In addition he ably served his community as a city councilman. His place in the life of his community was tersely expressed in the words by one who knew him well, “For a little guys, “Bully” wore the shoes of Goliath.”
Mr. Rader was born July 1, 1912 in Henry County, Ohio, the son of David and Amanda (Winkel) Rader. He was next to the youngest of eleven children. His parents lived on a farm in his early years and then moved to Ashland where he spent the rest of his life. After graduating from high school, at the age of eighteen he made acquaintance with the work in which he found a successful career. Beginning as a waiter, he later became manager of a popular restaurant in Ashland. In 1942 he bought the Lincoln Restaurant, and 1948 he acquired the restaurant in the Francis Hotel that he operated under his own name until his death. During World War II, Mr. Rader provided canteen service at the local plants engaged in defense production. Besides operating independent enterprises, he was a silent partner in three other businesses. Furthermore he provided financial assistance to a number of people enabling them to make a star in commercial life.
Mr. Rader’s interest in athletic events and in team management dated from his youth. During that period he and six brothers formed a basketball team known as the Rader Brothers. All skillful hoopsters, the boys received considerable recognition throughout the region. With this background, Mr. Rader went on to sponsor the best-known team of youngster in Ashland basketball history. Organizing a team of twelve year olds under the name of the Whiz Kids, they traveled throughout Ohio playing other youth teams. Many of the players with the Whiz Kids went on to excel in high school and college basketball. Mr. Rader joined a group of over sixty boys in the Young Men’s Christian Association and became the boy’s work chairman. He served in this capacity for many years with the association in Ashland.
In addition to basketball, he participated in softball, bowling, and handball. Through these interests he ably served his church, Trinity Lutheran, taking a leading role as director and coach of its Sunday
School League. He worked constructively in the city’s recreational program. He was a member of the Home Company basketball team of the Young Men’s Christian Association. He was also a founder and one time president of the Ashland Booster Club, promoting and chairing its stage production, “The Best is Yet to Come.” Since sports remained his primary interest, he took and active part in every program that centered about their events.
Despite his strenuous schedule, Mr. Rader found time to participate in the municipal government as a city councilman representing the second ward. Recognizing his place in the community, a basketball court was dedicated to his memory and named the Bully Rader Memorial Court. He could not have asked for a more appropriate tribute!
Mr. Rader married Beatrice Leone Ekey, daughter of Phan and Jessie Ekey. They had two children, Stanley and Penny. Stanley and his wife, Carolyn, live in Charlottesville, Virginia and Penny Sweeterman and her husband, Dennis live in Strongsville, Ohio. Stanley was a member of the original team formed by his father.
Mr. Rader died on February 17, 1949, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage on the basketball court at the Young Men’s Christian Association in Ashland. All acquainted with him would recognize the fitting character of these words written by one of his admirers, “While Bully was best known for his athletic activities, and especially prominent for his work with the youth of his community, he did not confine his good works to the field of sports. He readily answered the call whenever it came and from wherever it came.”
Nominator: Joe Mason