Jennings “Jocko” Rader, 87, of Sturgeon Bay, passed away on Nov. 18, 2019 at St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay. He was born April 4, 1932 in Sturgeon Bay to Jennings and Grace (Hoerres) Rader Sr. On Jan. 10, 1953 he married Janet Marie Seiler in Sturgeon Bay.
Jocko graduated from Sturgeon Bay High School in 1951 where he excelled at baseball and basketball, despite his stature. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served his country during the Korean War. Following his time in the service, Jocko attended Barber School and then joined his father working in the barbershop until the late 1960’s.
In 1970, he began his insurance career with Rural Insurance and eventually went to work for the Schopf Insurance Agency, which later became Stoneman-Schopf Insurance. During his career, Jocko developed a solid reputation for superior customer service, often going above and beyond in advocating for his clients. He was the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions and kept his license up until he was 86 years old.
Jocko will be remembered as one of Door County’s great sports enthusiasts. When he was young, he was a standout in the Door County Baseball League, eventually being inducted into the Door County Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992. For many years, he served on the league’s board in numerous positions. When he finished playing, he became a permanent fixture in the stands as a spectator and supporter of the league, known and admired by generations of baseball players and fans.
Playing golf was probably Jocko’s greatest passion. For decades organized numerous leagues and tournaments. His social skills and love for the game lead him to establish and host his own tournament, the JR Senior Scramble. People may also remember that Jocko wrote a sports column in the Door County Advocate and also had a radio show on WDOR, reporting golf scores and news. Anyone who golfed knew Jocko, especially the cart girls!
Jocko loved all sports and enjoyed following both professional and local sports teams. He was even inducted into the Door County Bowling Hall of Fame. In addition to his interest in sports, Jocko was a long-time faithful member and usher at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, and a past member of the Sturgeon Bay Jaycees. Jocko was definitely “one of a kind”. He had a great love for life and people, always with a smile on his face while visiting with anyone, anywhere. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
He is survived by his wife, 3 children, Cynthia (Jack) Gigstead, Sturgeon Bay; Scott Rader, New Berlin; and Stacy (Hans) Maricle, Fox Crossing; 4 grandchildren, Jeffrey Gigstead, Sturgeon Bay; Christina Gigstead, New York City; Briana (David) Sikir, Chicago; and Brittany (Greg) Rader-Climer, St. Louis, MO; in-laws, John (Joan) Seiler, Sturgeon Bay; and Keitha Seiler, Sturgeon Bay; nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law Jim Seiler.
Funeral services with military honors will be conducted at 12:00 noon on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church with the Rev. Joel Sauer officiating. Burial will be in Schumacher Cemetery. Friends may call at the Forbes Funeral Home in Sturgeon Bay on Friday, Nov. 22, from 2:00 – 7:00 pm and at the church on Saturday from 10:00 am until the time of service. To celebrate Jocko’s love of sports, everyone is invited to wear their favorite sports apparel to both the visitation and the funeral. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established in his name.
Special thanks to the nurses and staff on the 7th floor at St. Vincent Hospital, Dr. Kendra Marsh-Kates, Dr. Kelton Reitz and his nurses Lucy and Danielle for the wonderful care and support.
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