Eldon Alfred Bader, age 89, of Roberts, WI, died peacefully at his home on April 9, 2019.
Eldon was born to Alfred and Ruth Evenson Bader on June 28, 1929 in Boardman, Wisconsin. He graduated from New Richmond High School in the Class of 1947. Eldon joined the U.S. Army Air Corps shortly after graduation, and months before it became the U.S. Air Force. Eldon married Shirley Marie McAdam on June 5, 1951. In the Air Force, Eldon served as an aircraft mechanic, including duty at Misawa Air Base, Japan, during the Korean Conflict. He was accompanied by Shirley, and their son Brett was born in Japan. After the Korean War, Eldon was stationed at Hamilton Air Force Base, California, where their first daughter, Bari, was born. Eldon was sent to Officer Candidate School and subsequently for training as a Navigator at Ellington AFB, Texas, then assigned to Dover AFB, Delaware. Their second daughter, Lisa, was born during that tour. He attended the Maintenance Officer School and then was assigned to Randolph AFB, Texas, where their youngest daughter, Kristi, was born. While at Randolph, he volunteered as a rifle instructor for the Junior Rifle Club, and was a certified rifle and pistol instructor through the National Rifle Association. While at Randolph, he also earned a Private Pilot’s License. In 1968, Eldon retired from the U.S. Air Force after 21 years of active duty, as a Captain.
Eldon and Shirley moved their family back to Wisconsin after his retirement from the Air Force, settling first in River Falls, where he earned an undergraduate degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, and worked for the River Falls school system as a substitute teacher. He was a real estate broker and owned Bader Realty in Roberts for several years. He was a member of and served as President of the Western Wisconsin Board of Realtors during that time-frame.
Following his time in real estate, Eldon became the St. Croix County Veterans Service Officer. He worked in the St. Croix County Courthouse assisting Veterans for 13 years, retiring in 1993.
Eldon was active in youth & adult Hunter Education and became a certified Hunter Safety Instructor through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in 1987. He taught classes for 27 years in Somerset, receiving his 25 year service award in 2014 and retiring in 2016. He volunteered countless hours teaching youth and adults about firearms safety, safe shooting and hunting; volunteered with the Youth BB Gun League at the Hudson Rod and Gun Club; volunteered with the Somerset Hunter Education teaching team at the Wisconsin DNR Outdoor Skills Day at Willow River State Park in 1996; volunteered to teach elementary school students in the Somerset School District the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program from 1994-1996; volunteered to facilitate the Wisconsin DNR CD-ROM computer-aided Hunter Education Test Out Field Day in this region.
Eldon was an avid deer and turkey hunter, and loved to fish. He taught “everything fishing” to his kids and grandkids, and everything possible about boating and fishing safety. His love of the outdoors was passed down to his children and grandchildren.
Eldon and Shirley enjoyed various birding outings with different birding groups in Wisconsin and Texas, and also helped with bird counting events. With Shirley, Eldon enjoyed extensive travel, including Florida, Germany, England, Ireland in their itineraries, as well as many state parks across the Country, and traveled to Florida every winter for over 20 years. He was always ready to pack the car and head out on a trip. His love for travel and learning about new places was a valued gift handed down to his children and grandchildren.
Eldon was a lifelong learner, and never lost his thirst for knowledge. An avid reader, he always had a new book or magazine to read, and a new project to try. He loved gardening, and in the spring was eager to hit the plant stands, bringing home new plants to try in his garden whether it was vegetables or flowers.
In 2005, Eldon became a licensed Amateur Radio operator with the callsign of KB9LUG. He was active for a number of years with the St. Croix Amateur Radio Club, and often met members for their weekly breakfast gathering on Saturdays in River Falls. He was a member of the American Radio Relay League.
Eldon was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, an Endowment-level member of the NRA, a lifetime member of the Military Officers Association of America, and a member of American Legion Post 121 in River Falls.
Eldon will be remembered as a mentor, a teacher and as a person who always sought to instill the quest for learning about new ideas and things. He will remain in the hearts of his wife, Shirley, children Brett (Mary) Bader of Hudson, Bari (Gerry) Creager of Moore, Oklahoma, Lisa Gilbert of River Falls, and Kristi (Anthony) Helton of Washington, D.C, grandchildren Amber (Zachary) Niebuhr, Meghan Knobel, Morgan McAdam (Suzanne) Knobel, Niall Creager, and Jack Helton, great-grandchildren Sophie and Sydni Niebuhr, brother Warren (Shirley) Bader, sister-in-law Darlene Bader, sister-in-law Ilene Bader, brother-in-law James (Mary) McAdam, many nieces and nephews, and various family and friends.
Eldon was preceded in death by his parents Alfred and Ruth Bader, and brothers Harold, Richard and Ralph Bader.
A private family memorial service will be held at a later date.