William ‘Bill’ Garrett Rader, 79, of Shoreham


SHOREHAM — William “Bill” Garrett Rader, born April 25, 1944, died peacefully April 11, 2024, in the home that he built with his own hands on a beautiful spot overlooking Lake Champlain.

If you met Bill once, you knew him. He carried around a vibrant, ever-present smile and was quick with a loving, hearty handshake. A friend to all, Bill always saw and brought out the best in each and every person.

A Vermont-certified carpenter for nearly 50 years, Bill’s projects stretched across Addison and Rutland Counties, impacting countless families. Bill’s “can-do” attitude was contagious, and he got a lot of joy and satisfaction working shoulder-to-shoulder with others. He always believed in putting in a hard day’s work and treating people fairly. He had a knack for creative problem solving and utilizing the resources at hand, whether it be in his capacity as a carpenter or his role on a team of Air Guard members in a “rapid runway repair” exercise.

Bill’s endeavors also included developing and managing an apiary of over 400 hives, as well as managing the family-owned 100+ acre Hand’s Cove Orchard and operating the Fort Ticonderoga and Three Minute Ferries.

Bill attended Michigan State University before enlisting in the Navy in 1965 during the Vietnam War, serving as flight deck director on the U.S.S. Coral Sea. From 1981 to 2004, he served in the Vermont Air National Guard in the 158th Civil Engineering department, where he rose to the rank of Senior Master Sergeant, E-8. During his time in the Air Guard, Bill traveled to over 15 different countries, including Jamaica, Mali, Israel, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Macedonia, carrying out humanitarian missions. After mandatory retirement from the Air Guard, he continued to serve as a member of the American Legion Honor Guard. He was also an active member of the Shoreham Volunteer Fire Department for 27 years. In 2012 he was recognized as Shoreham Citizen of the Year, along with other fellow senior firefighters.

In 1969 he married Rhoda Caswell in Brandon, Vt. They had three children: Lorelei, Peter, and Lisa. Bill put family first, whether that meant enthusiastically cheering them on in sports or sharing his love of the lake through teaching all of his close and extended family how to fish and waterski. Expressive of his core convictions, Bill unapologetically proclaimed the love of Jesus through his resonant singing voice and his willingness to help any person in need. He proudly lived for and served God and country. His testimony was not only in word, but in many deeds, big and small.

Bill leaves behind his loving wife of 55 years, Rhoda; children Lorelei Svoboda and spouse Brian (Hollis, N.H.), Peter and spouse Moira (Guilford, Conn.), and Lisa and spouse Jon Andrews (Middlebury, Vt.) He took great joy in each of his nine grandchildren: Anika, Paedar, Alena, Stella, Maeve, Benjamin, Mairead, Eva and Muiriel. He also leaves behind his sister, Marylou Smith (East Dover, Vt.) and brother Glenn Rader (Jupiter, Fla.)

Bill will be laid to rest with military honors on Tuesday, May 28, at 1 p.m., at the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph, Vt.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Bill’s honor can be made to Habitat for Humanity of Addison County ( or the Vermont Veterans Fund (email:[email protected]) ◊


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