Gilbert T. “Curly” Rager, 91, went to be with The Lord, Wednesday, October 31, 2012, at IU Health, Ball Memorial Hospital. He was born November 9, 1920, in Muncie, the son of John and Helen (Cline) Rager, attend Muncie schools, including Wilson Junior High School and Muncie Central High School.
He met Betty Jane Coates at Wilson Junior High School in 1934, and he used to walk her home from school. They became pals and buddies and married, May 27, 1937, while attending Muncie Central High School and celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary in May.
He was a hard worker. During his junior high school years he worked for an uncle in the concession stand at Heekin Park, and also ran a motion picture projector for another uncle every Thursday night at the movies. During high school he worked at the Old Liberty Theatre on South Walnut Street making and selling popcorn while also being an usher.
After their marriage he worked at the Ball Brothers box department for six years before being hired by the Nickle Plate Railroad, (now the Norfolk and Southern Railroad), as a telegraph operator. He continued working in Ohio, Portland, IN, and Indianapolis, IN. He became a freight agent and telegraph operator in Hartford City, IN, finishing thirty-five years on the railroad retiring in December of 1977.
His hobby for sixty-seven years was amateur radio with the call letters W9BZI. He was trustee of the Delaware Amateur Radio Club, and he had worked with the Delaware County Civil Defense.
Mr. Rager was a member of the Masonic Lodge of Ohio for sixty-eight years; and the Order of Eastern Star in Albany.
Survivors include his wife, Betty; his daughter, Donna Lephart, Muncie; two granddaughters, Melinda Shackelfurd, (fiance, Terrence Stump), Muncie, and Kelly Collicco, (husband, Tony), Winter Park, Florida; six great-grandchildren, Matthew and Alex Shackelfurd, Muncie, and Jessica, Chelesta, Adena and Anthony Collicco, Winter Park, Florida; his half-sister, Maxine Ashton, (husband, Francis), Middletown; three special cousins, Dewela Hole Niccum, Howard Hole and David Collins; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his daughter, Patty Reading and her husband Donald Reading; half-brother, Durwood Rager; and half-sister, Mona Hart, and her husband, A.D., and his uncle, Rev. Dewey Hole, and his wife, Lillian.
Services will be 1:00 p.m. Tuesday at Parson Mortuary with Dr. Collins Glenn and Pastor Rory Bond officiating. Burial will follow in Elm Ridge Cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday and an hour prior to the services at the mortuary on Tuesday at the mortuary.
Whitney Lodge No. 229, F. & A.M., will conduct memorial services 7:30 p.m. Monday at the mortuary.
Memorials may be sent to the Muncie Mission, Heritage Hall Christian School, or the IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Hospice.
Online condolences may be sent to www.parsonmortuary.com.