William John Reader

Army Badge
  • Name: William John Reader
  • Location of Birth: Grand Rapids, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: April 24, 1952
  • Date of Death: October 11, 2018 (66 years old)
  • Parents: William Francis and Bertha Ione Reader
  • High School and Class: 1970 - Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids, Minnesota
  • College: Dunwoody Institute - Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Highest Rank: SP 4 (Specialist 4)
  • Branch: Army
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: June 22, 1972
  • Place Sworn In: Fort Knox, Kentucky
  • Date of Discharge: June 21, 1974
  • Place of Discharge: Headquarters and Headquarters Company-United States Army Garrison, Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, New York
  • Units and Locations:
    Start Date End Date Unit(s) and Location(s) Served
    June, 1972 September, 1972 E084 (WIL72A S), Fort Knox, Fort Knox, Kentucky
    September, 1972 June, 1974 Headquarters and Headquarters Company, United States Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton, in Brooklyn, New York
  • Military Awards:
    National Defense Service Medal
    Good Conduct Medal
    Marksman Badge - Rifle Bar

  • Military Highlights:
    Bill, like many, had a plan for his life that did not include being drafted into the Army at the very end of the Vietnam War Era. Instead of finishing his final year in a Computer Systems Program at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he went to Fort Knox in Kentucky for Basic Training. As Bill was being transferred to Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York, one of his commanders at Fort Knox told him, "God works all things together for good." Bill wondered if that was true. As a young man in the 1970's, Bill was as restless as most of his generation, partying and searching for some meaning to life. Fort Hamilton was known for its Chaplaincy Program. Bill worked night shifts in Computer Systems. Two pastors affiliated with the Chaplaincy Program took it upon themselves to go door to door, telling each man in the barracks the good news of God's love for them in what Jesus had done for them on the Cross of Calvary. For Bill it truly was good news. Becoming a born-again Christian in October of 1973 changed him forever. He found meaning and purpose that would serve him for a lifetime. Bill died at 66 on October 11, 2018 of hereditary aggressive kidney cancer. He was an amazing man of faith, who simply walked out his life in Christ Jesus in a quiet, kind, gentle and humble way. He found something commendable in every person he met. Surely God did work things together for good in Bill's life through his Army experience. Because Bill was not a part of the Vietnam Era, he never felt it was right for him to take any Veteran's Benefits, but he did want to be buried in the Veteran's section of Itasca Calvary Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The Veterans Administration kindly provided the white headstone that commemorates his life and death.

  • Wars Involved:
    Vietnam Era

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Bill lived most of his life in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, except for classes at Dunwoody Institute until he was drafted into the United States Army in 1972. Bill was employed by Blandin Paper Company in Grand Rapids, Minnesota for almost 39 years, retiring in March, 2014.

    He enjoyed life to the fullest whether he was riding his bicycle in many locations, sailing the waters of Pokegama Lake on his various sailboats, working out with his buddies at Anytime, or having adventures traveling near and far.

    He was preceded in death by his very special grandma, Mable, and his parents, William F. and Bertha Reader.

    He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Berenice and the Haverkost family, Mary, Joe, and Wanda; his sister, Karlin and the Allen family, Michael, Kurt, Jeff, Peter; as well as an aunt, Mary Lyden.

    Buried in Itasca Calvary Cemetery at Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):