American Veteran 02
Official Obituary of

William Gerald “Bill” Brader

October 28, 1927 ~ February 22, 2024 (age 96) 96 Years Old

William Brader Obituary

William Gerald Brader, 96, of Johnstown died Thursday, February 22, 2024 in Hilton Head Island, SC, surrounded by family. He had a wonderful life--- not without challenges or heartbreak--- but wonderful. 

Born at home in Bethlehem on October 28, 1927, he was the youngest son of George Henry Brader and Harriet Mary (Meadway) Brader. 

A hard worker all of his life, he and his brother dug potatoes and sold skunk pelts as kids to earn money for the family. Always one for adventure, at age 15, he and a few friends rode their bikes to Niagara Falls, sleeping in barns and kind strangers’ homes along the way. 

Part of “The Greatest Generation”, he graduated from Bethlehem Technical High School in 1945 and immediately signed up to join his older brother in the Navy during World War II. He served stateside in Oceana Virginia.

When the war ended, he began working for Bethlehem Steel in 1946 as a clerk, then a draftsman and an estimator. When his father died, he wanted to buy the family home, but wasn’t “old enough” at 19 to own a home. The bank held the mortgage until he was 20. And in the meantime, he worked nights at the Post Office to earn extra money to buy the home. He also worked two nights a week to earn his Associates Degree through Penn State.

As a young man in Bethlehem, he was active in Scouting, Young Life, and Jaycees. He also played baseball—and began a lifelong love of the sport. 

In 1948 he fell in love with Sylvia Ann Weimer and on January 19, 1952 they married. Two sons were born soon after. 

In 1956 Bethlehem Steel transferred the young family to Johnstown with the Freight Car Division. They built a home where they raised their family and where Bill lived the rest of his life. In Johnstown, they added another son and a daughter. His work-ethic and interpersonal skills provided him many opportunities for growth. He became Assistant Chief Engineer by the 1970’s, VP of Operations in the 1980’s and was named President of the Freight Car Division of Bethlehem Steel in 1985. When the Division was sold in 1991 he remained the President of Johnstown America until his retirement in 1993. He also served as Chairman of the American Railcar Institute.

Bill was active in Christ Lutheran Church and later Westmont Presbyterian Church, serving in many capacities on Session and as a Deacon. He was a Scout Master through the mid-sixties. He served on the Johnstown health care committee during the 1980’s and 90’s. In his retirement, he served as a Director on the Board of Grandview Cemetery. He also enjoyed volunteering at the Westmont Presbyterian Farmers’ Market for many years. 

He loved his family and supported them in so many ways over his lifetime. He cherished the many times he was able to interact with his grandchildren and great- grandchildren. He loved baseball. He was a lifelong Phillies fan, but for many years could only watch Pirates games in Western PA, so he grew to appreciate them too. He would rather watch any baseball game than do just about anything else. He was a voracious reader, having read biographies of many of our US Presidents and other important historic figures. He had a dry, quick wit and a penchant for teasing and joking in a way that left everyone laughing too. He loved watching birds and spent years attempting to thwart the squirrels that wanted to steal his birdseed. He loved to strike up a conversation with just about anyone and learn about their life. He loved his friends and especially enjoyed competing with them on the golf course. He loved to travel and to learn more about the world. He loved trains and often said, at the sound of a train whistle, “That’s one of the most beautiful sounds you’re ever gonna hear”. He loved puzzles and the family enjoyed a competitive spirit whenever a puzzle was out. One of the only things he didn’t love was broccoli --and we really don’t know why. 

He is survived by three of his four children: Christopher Brader (Karen), of Haymarket, Virginia; Jonathan (Lorinda) of Archbold, Ohio and Jennifer Rairigh (David), of Indiana, PA. His daughter-in-law, Linda (Brader) Bloomfield (Dave), of Seaside Park, NJ, also survives him. His surviving grandchildren are: Timothy Brader (Stephanie), of Lewis Center, OH; Stephanie Bergfeld (Eric), of Lewis Center, OH; Lindsy Pierson (AJ), of Archbold OH; Benjamin Brader (Heather), of Superior, CO; Richard Bloomfield (Elizabeth), of Point Pleasant, NJ; Daniel Rairigh (Christopher), of San Francisco, CA; Rachel Sauder (Darin), of Archbold OH; and Kate Rairigh, of Indiana, PA. He is survived by 8 Great Grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Bill is also survived by his step-daughter, Carol Dick (Gregory), of Johnstown. 

Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Sylvia Brader, who died in 2004. His second wife, Eileen (Yoder) Brader, also preceded him in 2015. His son, Timothy Brader died in 1977. And his granddaughter, Lisa Brader died in 1983. He was also preceded in death by his brothers: George in 1926 and Robert in 2015. 

Visitation will be held Friday, March 1 from 2-4PM and 6-8PM in Westmont at the Frank Duca Funeral Home 1622 Menoher Blvd. Johnstown. His funeral will be held at Westmont Presbyterian Church 601 Luzerne Street in Johnstown on Saturday March 2nd, at 11AM, Rev. Ben Nti and Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Chottiner will co-officiate. Interment, with military honors, will be in Grandview Cemetery in Johnstown. His funeral arrangements are being handled by his son-in-law David Rairigh with the generous assistance of Duca Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be made to: Westmont Family Counseling Ministries 789 Goucher Street Johnstown PA 15905 or by visiting

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March 1, 2024

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Westmont Chapel

March 1, 2024

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Westmont Chapel

Funeral Service
March 2, 2024

11:00 AM
Westmont Presbyterian Church
601 Luzerne Street
Johnstown, PA 15905


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