Thelma Jewel (Jackson) Rader

October 10, 1926November 21, 2018
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Thelma Jewel (Jackson) Rader went to be with her Lord and Savior on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at the age of 92. She is survived by her two daughters, Linda Wallace and Peggy Craft; one son, Michael Rader and his wife, Nancy; 7 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband of 72 years, Norman Rader; her twin brother, Elmer Jackson, three older brothers, Andrew, Harry Lee and G.C. Jackson; and her grandson, Andrew Craft.

She was born to Carlisle and Julia Marie (Lueders) Jackson on October 10, 1926, at their home in the oilfields near Prairie Lea, Texas. Thelma met the love of her life, Norman Rader, at the wedding of her brother, Harry Lee, to Norman’s sister, Rose. She had just turned 18 when they married on October 29, 1944, in Lockhart, Texas. The couple lived in Corpus Christi, where Norman was serving in the Navy during WWII. After the Navy, Thelma and Norman moved to San Antonio, where their first child, Linda, was born and later to Houston, where Peggy and Michael were born.

Thelma worked for many years as a billing clerk for Horton & Horton, a ready-mixed concrete company. She later was hired by her friend and neighbor, Charlene Phillips, to work in the accounting department of Japanese-based import company Marubeni, Inc. She was not only a trusted and efficient employee, but soon became a friend and helper to the men who came to Houston from Japan, as well as their families. She retired in 1991.

When her husband, Norman, felt God’s call to minister to the deaf community, Thelma served right beside him with a servant’s heart, unselfish generosity, and a loving spirit, first at Baptist Temple, then at Houston’s First Baptist Church, and finally at Woodhaven Baptist Deaf Church.

Thelma enjoyed helping Norman with his numerous craft projects and accompanying him to countless craft shows and sales. Left to herself, she loved working complicated jigsaw puzzles and crocheting afghans, lap robes, and baby blankets, most of which were donated to nursing homes and various charities. While Norman was the outgoing, in-the-limelight sort of person, Thelma was in the background, quietly doing the selfless, necessary, practical things, like washing the baptism robes and cleaning the church’s refrigerator. Someone once asked her what she did at church, and she replied, “Wash dishes.” Everyone who knew Thelma recognized her as a strong-willed, independent, and fiercely loyal person. She was a hard worker, unselfish and generous. Strong in her faith, firm in her convictions, she provided an unwavering anchor for those she loved. We can find comfort in knowing that her Savior has welcomed her into Heaven, saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Family and friends will gather and share memories of this wonderful woman during a visitation on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Waltrip Funeral Directors, 1415 Campbell Road in Houston, where funeral services will be held in the chapel on Wednesday, November 28th at 10:00 a.m. Reverend Arthur Craig, will officiate. Graveside services and interment will follow at 3:00 p.m. in the Cistern Public Cemetery, Cistern Texas.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to: The Cocama Project Water Well Fund, P.O. Box 1502 Richmond, TX, 77406

A note from Sam Nicholson, of the Cocama Project:

Sorry to hear the news but glad to know you are secure in expecting to be reunited with her one day. And thanks for thinking of the water project. Your mom’s contributions have done wonderful things to help our jungle neighbors have clean water and I am sincerely grateful for her selfless giving. (She provided funding for 3 wells.)

(For more information see their website at )

KHCB Christian Radio, 2424 South Blvd. Houston, TX, 77098


  • Thelma is survived by her two daughters, Linda Wallace and Peggy Craft; one son, Michael Rader and his wife, Nancy; 7 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
    She was preceded in death by her husband of 72 years, Norman Rader; her parents, Carlisle and Julia Marie (Lueders) Jackson; her twin brother, Elmer Jackson, three older brothers, Andrew, Harry Lee and G.C. Jackson; and her grandson, Andrew Craft.

  • Jeremy Craft
  • Kyle Mize
  • Mike Schisler
  • James Romig
  • Brian Jackson
  • Dave Chaney


  • Visitation Tuesday, November 27, 2018
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, November 28, 2018
  • Committal Service Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Thelma Jewel (Jackson) Rader

have a memory or condolence to add?

Peggy Stedman

November 30, 2018

Ms. Thelma was my rock. Whenever I had a problem at the church, she was my first go to. For years we would talk everyday on the phone. She was my mentor. Always willing to listen to me and guide me in making the right decisions. She was my friend. I enjoyed visiting with her and catching up on all the news. We talked about everything. I felt like I knew her family and she knew all 8 of my brothers and sisters names. I am going miss my dearest friend. I am happy she is with Jesus and Norman. I look forward to seeing her.

Lou Ann Waterson

November 28, 2018

I still have a crocheted afghan made by Thelma Dear, given to me as a wedding present in 1977. It is on one of the beds in my house right now.


November 24, 2018




Funeral Service Eulogy for Thelma Rader – November 27, 2018
Jeremy Craft, Grandson and Orator

On October 10, 1926, having just given birth to a handsome baby boy, Carlisle and Julia Jackson were surprised to discover they were also the parents of a lovely baby girl! Mama used to jokingly complain that her twin brother, Elmer, came first and took everything that was good and only left her the freckles.
Being twins in a small town, Thelma and Elmer were a bit of a sensation. They drew attention wherever they went. Elmer was outgoing and didn’t mind, but Thelma was painfully shy, and the constant notoriety was uncomfortable for her. Her family rarely called them by name. To the family they were “brother” and “sister”. These family nicknames continued into their adult life, resulting in their being addressed as “Uncle Brother” and “Aunt Sister”, which admittedly sounded rather strange to outsiders.
In addition to her twin, she had three older brothers, Andrew, Harry Lee, and G.C. Keeping up with those brothers was a top priority for Thelma, and it wasn’t easy. They found many ways to torment their young sister. She liked to tell the story of a time that their family made homemade ice cream – a rare treat. Her brothers taunted her, betting that they could eat their ice cream faster than she could. Not wishing to be outdone, Thelma gobbled down her ice cream, barely tasting it, only to discover that the boys weren’t eating theirs. They began to eat slowly, savoring every bite, and laughing as she watched in dismay, realizing the trick they had played on her.

Peggy notes,
As if growing up with four brothers wasn’t enough, she married my father, whose personality was so different from hers. During our Army days, we became great friends with a young soldier named Troy Hoehne, and he is still a close friend to me to this day. He often recounted his first introduction to my mother. This is how he tells it:

“When we were in flight school, your parents made the trip from Houston to Daleville, Alabama. I was visiting at your home when they arrived. I will never forget meeting her. As they climbed stiffly out of their vehicle, you asked your mother how they were doing, and she answered, “Well, Peggy, how do you think I am after three days in the car with your father?!” Nor will I forget her kindness to me for all the years since. I still use a few of the bowls and pans she gave me at Fort Hood, and smile every time thinking of her concern for me. I’m not sure she thought I was going to survive. Your mother has brought comfort and love into many lives, and I hope she knew how much richer we all were for having her in our lives.”

Peggy continues,
When Andrew was just a toddler, he fell and cut his lip – a wound that required a plastic surgeon and lots of stitches. He stayed with Papa & Grandma so I could go back to work. When I called him on my conference period to check on him, I asked what he had for breakfast. Without hesitation he replied, “Dr Pepper and cake!” When I reproached her, she said in no uncertain terms that he’d had a rough time, that’s what he asked for, she was his grandma and she could give him anything she wanted! Believe me, as kids, WE would NEVER have been allowed Dr. Pepper and cake for breakfast!

Linda recalls:
Mama made all the grandkids capes out of inexpensive flannel, with a big button to fasten it in front. On the back of the cape, she drew a big circle, and painted their initial in the center. The children absolutely loved those capes and wore them often. In fact, to commemorate this special childhood memory, Julie and Courtney wore theirs to Jenny and James’ wedding rehearsal!
Mama loved to hear her grandchildren sing. Courtney and Jennifer both earned degrees in vocal performance from Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas. In their junior and senior recitals, they sang pieces in different languages. Mama and Daddy came to all four recitals. Mama would tell them their singing was beautiful, but she like the songs in English best!
When Courtney and Mike married in December, 2000, our mom’s eyesight was failing. After their cake had been delivered and set up for the reception, I took her to see how it looked. She didn’t believe the cake was real, even after being assured that it was, and that it was not just a decoration. Still unbelieving, she poked her finger into the cake and then pronounced it “Real!” Not only was the cake real, so was the indentation her finger-poking made!
Our parents loved the Deaf community and spent 50 years serving God through working with them. One of the ways they served at Woodhaven was being on different committees. When they were on the Lord’s Supper committee, one of their responsibilities was to purchase the bread and grape juice. Our mom did the shopping, and when she was gathering the items to take to church, she realized she had purchased not grape juice, but prune juice! They had to make a quick stop at the grocery store on the way to church!
Mama showed me that serving and honoring God didn’t have to be in big ways that others would notice. On Sundays she would drive to pick up the older deaf ladies and take them to church. They would have been unable to attend church otherwise. She would make phone calls and send notes of encouragement to others. For many, those were the words that were needed at that time. She spent the last years of her life unable to see. She now has new eyes, and the first thing she saw with her new eyes was Jesus – with Daddy right behind Him. Amen?

Granddaughter Julie:
Growing up, it seemed any time we had a meal at Grandma and Papa’s house, buttermilk biscuits and homemade preserves were on the table. When I moved to an apartment during college, Grandma’s recipe for buttermilk biscuits came with me. A year or two after I graduated, Grandma invited me to learn how she and Papa made their preserves. I went to their house the next day and the jars were already washed and dried. We spent the afternoon in their kitchen, Grandma supervising me while I stirred a lot of sugar into a lot of blackberries and learned to increase the heat on the stove in increments until the mixture was ready to go in the jars.
I still have that biscuit recipe, typed on her typewriter, and I still use the directions for preserves that I wrote out that day in Grandma & Papa’s kitchen.
Even though Papa was usually the one we kids went to for practical jokes and fun, Grandma had her mischievous side as well. Once, when my sisters and I were staying overnight with them, we thought it would be a fun idea to wrap Uncle Mike’s house, which was directly behind theirs. Grandma drove us to the store, purchased the toilet paper, and actually helped us wrap the bushes and plants in his front yard!

Granddaughter Jenny:
Growing up on the same street as Grandma and Papa was such a blessing. Grandma was a special lady who took wonderful care of her grandchildren. I remember all the times when we would get sick, and she would take care of us so Mom didn’t have to take off work. She was always so sweet. And she always made sure we ate. A lot!
She would take me to my orthodontic appointments, and afterwards she would always take me to Wendy’s for a Frosty. In her car she had a sign that said, “Drive no faster than your guardian angels can fly.” I treasured those shared moments between Grandma and me.
During our college years, when we were home for the summer, she never had a problem when we would invite ourselves over to their house for breakfast or lunch. She would just laugh and say, “Sure! Come on down.”
When it was time for us to go off to college, Grandma made all of us an afghan in whatever colors we wanted. When I told her the colors I wanted, she told me they were ugly colors, but she would make the afghan for me anyway. I have that afghan today, and every time I use it, I am filled with the happy thought that I am covered with her love. And it’s not ugly! It’s gorgeous!

My sister Emily:
One of my favorite memories of both Papa and Grandma was that they always came to Grandparent’s Day at my elementary school. They would adopt any random children in my class who did not have grandparents present. Papa teased and joked with them, Grandma loved and hugged on them, and they prayed over us all. I was always so proud when they came.
In our family, buttermilk biscuits are a big thing. Grandma made them all the time, my mom learned from her, and I learned from my mom. I always thought that the recipe came with my ancestors when they immigrated from Germany, and now we carry on the tradition. I was talking with Grandma about this not too long ago, and she started laughing so hard. "Emily," she said. "I hate to tell you this, but I got that recipe off of a baking powder can."
To be perfectly honest, Grandma scared me some when I was little. She didn’t hold with misbehavior, and misbehaving was sort of my forte! I got many scoldings and talkings to, which I totally deserved. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:11, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” When I look back, I see my grandmother’s unconditional love, unwavering faith, and continual prayers on my behalf, which were part of God’s good work in my life. I wanted so much for her to see me graduate in May, but she knew I was almost there, and her words, every time I left her, will always live in my heart, “Emily, I’m proud of you.”

Granddaughter Courtney:
Grandma taught me to have an open heart. She welcomed anyone and everyone we brought into their home. Always had an open (and full) cookie jar, cokes in the fridge, and a seat at the table. We would sit for hours around that table. She loved us and never once did I hear her say that it was time for us to leave. Her hands were never idle. She and Papa could never be called lazy - they always had some project going. Even when she watched TV at the end of the day, she was crocheting something. At 3 years old, I watched her fingers move so quickly, I proudly declared to everyone, “That’s easy. You just move your hand like this...” and twisted my wrist forward and back a few times. Grandma was a bottom-line, straight-forward lady. Her uncomplicated advice to us as we got older was simply, “Just do the next right thing.”

My wife, Lori agrees,
I felt like I belonged the first moment she put her arms around me. It was like I’d always been family.

My sister Amy:
Grandma understandably didn't want us picking the flowers in the garden, so we would stand under the crepe myrtle tree and shake the branches so that the flowers would fall and catch in our hair. This way we could say honestly, “We didn't pick them, the flowers fell out of the tree.” Many years later, as an adult, I was telling this to Grandma and she was completely humored and surprised. Her face broke out into the biggest smile and she said, “Really?!” She had no idea that's what we were doing.
Although Grandma was a great cook, she had no taste for our culinary experiments. Upon hearing that Andrew was making saltine crackers from scratch, she said to him, "You know you can buy those in the store, real cheap!”
She was friendly and kind, but she wasn’t the jovial, outgoing, lively character that Papa was. She was the steadfast rock and foundation on which our family is built. I trace my family through the maternal line and we’ve lost the matriarch; I feel that loss more profoundly than I expected. The torch has finally been passed and even still I’m not ready for it; I just want to go back to the kids table - a rickety old round card table with a trick leg and a hodgepodge of rocking chairs and folding chairs pulled up around it - and give Jenny all my green beans.
She was strong, beautiful, intelligent, giving, hardworking, loyal and independent. She served everyone she worked for or came in contact with, but she was still independent, strong-willed, and firm in her own mind. She was strict, and you didn’t dream of crossing or disobeying her, and she didn’t suffer fools lightly. We each have a different view of her based on our expectations and experience, but we should all recognize her impact on every one of us in our personal strength, character, independence and loyalty.

Jeremy continues,
A fond memory of my own comes from when we would spend the night at Grandma and Papa’s house. In the morning, Grandma would make pancakes – but not just ANY pancakes, she would form the batter into alphabet shapes – the letters of our initials. Personalized, monogramed pancakes! A king should eat so well. I have often tried to replicate this technique for my own children albeit not quite as successfully.
My letters usually turn into giant unrecognizable blobs. The kids are sweet and eat them anyway. Grandma was the family historian. She collected stories and documents, and then preserved and distributed this treasure trove of knowledge to each of us. We don’t need 23 and Me or to know where we come from, and we can trace our family tree of faith, service, and character just as thoroughly. I am so thankful that my children, got to know their Great Grandmother, and she was “Great” indeed.

Today we celebrate the life and legacy of a grand lady. We miss her dearly, but we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We didn’t “lose” Grandma – we know exactly where she is. She is worshiping Jesus Christ in a healed and whole body, standing next to the love of her life, and probably rolling her eyes at his silly antics.