Ronald James Bader

Ronald James Bader died in Homer with his loving family and friends by his side.

Ronald James Bader was called to Heaven after struggling for many years with corticobasal degenerative

disease. He died at home in Homer with his loving family and friends at his side. Even though he was

unable to verbally communicate for the last months, his sparkling eyes and smile made all who visited

with him know that he was in the present.

Ron was born in Saginaw, MI, on March 18, 1935, to Dorothy Bader and Jack Mertz of Reese, MI. His

elementary years were influenced by the one-room-schoolhouse a mile and a half away from his

grandparent's farm house. In that school Ron was fascinated with a few large maps, especially the one

of the Territory of Alaska that had "unexplored" written across Alaska's northern sections. A few months

after high school graduation, 18-year-old Ron independently drove north to that unexplored Territory in

a 1940 Pontiac that he outfitted for sleeping, fishing and cooking. In doing so, he made local headlines in

the Saginaw newspaper: "Youth Heads North to Alaska". The Alcan had been completed, but the 1954

early spring break-up challenged the 14-year-old Pontiac. Upon arriving in Anchorage six weeks later, he

was quickly offered a summer manual labor job with the Alaska Railroad working on the Lawing to

Seward section. His pay was always paid out in silver dollar coins. At the end of that summer season he

had $900 silver dollars saved up in nine embossed boxes – an unheard of sum according to this

Grandfather, for a "kid."

Another trip to the Territory was made in 1956. This time he landed in Fairbanks for a brief employment

stint, but ended up near Kiana, and settled in for the winter with an original Gold Rush '98-er miner. Ron

did the brawny grunt work for the old guy during that winter of '56-57, and learned much about arctic

living and mining from the books and mind of Jack Casinov.

Ron then returned to MI with a vengeance to finish his college degree, and returned to AK permanently

in 1961, having been hired through the mail with the Anchorage School District. During his 29-year

tenure with ASD, Ron taught math, auto-shop, metals and PE at Clark Jr. High, and when A.J. Dimond

High opened in 1966, he was offered a position on the first faculty. Throughout those years he also

coached speed skating, cross-country skiing and volleyball. The time and classes sped by, and retirement

from teaching meant the opening of many other pursuits.

Ron always sought to be outdoors. From hunting and fishing to fill the freezer, to bottle hunting for Gold

Rush treasures, backcountry skiing, off trail camping, blueberry picking, house and greenhouse building,

gardening and more. Ron taught his two children the value of Alaska's wild places, staying productive

and always imaging what vista was over the next hill. He often said he didn't want to follow someone

else's established trail, but studied topographical maps before heading out to seek his joy – always with

a good dog, often with family and friends in tow. During the late 1970s and 80s, he fished in the Bristol

Bay commercial fishery. After the BB years, he spent 27 years living the summers in roadless Peterson

Bay, repurposing an old homesteader's shelter into a happy home. He also established an oyster farm,

and supported the shellfish mariculture industry in the greater Kachemak Bay Area by contributing time

and resources to the building of a shellfish processing plant on the Homer Spit. One of Ron's last efforts

in his early 80s was to support the budding peony industry in Homer by planting a "dirt" peony farm and

encouraging the development of a marketing/distribution coop in Homer. The disease robbed Ron of his

lifelong love of reading non-fiction, and until his end, he appreciated being read to from books of

astrology, history or Arctic exploration.

Ron is survived by his wife, Marie; two children, Tracy Anna and Charles; daughter-in-law, Shannon

Craig; and grandchildren, Rosemary, Roxanna, James, Natalie, Sadie , Nili and Lior, all of Anchorage; and

many wonderful friends and relatives in and out of of Alaska.

Ron's family sincerely thanks Pastor Heindorn, Hospice of Homer, Homer Home Health, Dr. Tuami, the

Terrace attendants and Ron's wonderful friends in Homer and Anchorage for all the love, care and

support given during Ron's last months. If you wish to contribute to Cure PSP, an organization that is

dedicated to unraveling the Parkinson's Plus diseases, please do. Or, consider a gift to Homer Hospice

mentioned above.