David William Shrader

August 27, 1939 :: Columbus, OH
Passed Away:
October 18, 2009 :: Lakewood, CO

As he wished, David passed away peacefully at home in Lakewood (Jefferson County) Colorado, as the light faded in the early evening hours Sunday, October 18, 2009, at aged 70y, 1m, 22d. No services will be held and his cremains will be scattered along Weir Gulch creek next to his home.

Born 27 August 1939 at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, Dave was the second and final son of Doctor Albert Morgan Shrader and Eva Mildred (Lillian Mae Calkins) DeHeines. A proud left-hander, he spent his youth living in Waverly, Ohio, and graduated from Waverly High School in 1957. He went on to earn a 1961 BFA degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and pursued his arts interests throughout his life. While at MU, he was active in Phi Delta Theta and maintained those friendships over the years and supported the university through his membership in the alumni association.

After graduating, Dave entered the United States Air Force and was trained in Russian language at Indiana University. He spent four years “listening” to radio transmissions in Russian from postings in northern Japan and the Aleutian Island chain in Alaska. He was in Alaska during the 1964 earthquake and tsunami which leveled Anchorage. He enjoyed swearing in a language most Americans didn’t understand.

After his service, he began working for Merrill Publishing in Columbus and wound up in Detroit during the turbulent 1960s. Near the close of that decade, he accepted a position as road representative for the Pittsburgh (PA) Institute of Art , a private art college. In 1976, the school purchased a small existing art school in Colorado and Dave was assigned to help open and develop the school in Denver and like so many other “pioneers” before him, he moved west in January of that year. Together with Cheryl Murphy and John Barclay, among others, they built a thriving school from scratch.

His primary responsibility in the early years was to visit as many of the high schools in the inter-mountain west as possible from New Mexico to Montana and points between, talking to art classes and art teachers. Over the next 19 years, Dave was a major player in building a flagship arts school – The Colorado Institute of Art –whose enrollment grew from 90 to more than 1500 students. The final years of work found him directing the student service department as its vice-president. His office door was always open to staff and students.

His close associations with the state’s art teachers led him to be elected president of the CAEA on several occasions and he cherished the relationships he formed there. A scholarship is being set up by those friends in Dave’s memory. That would bring a wry smile to his lips to match the twinkle in his hazel eyes.

After his retirement in 1995, Dave pursued hobbies and interests from his home in suburban Lakewood. He began designing and making quilts and his first large quilt – “Hugs and Kisses”– was selected to hang in the Capitol rotunda during the Colorado Quilting Council’s quilting show. A second one – “Wild Flowers in the Forest” — hung there two years later in 1997. The company he formed was named after his mother, “Lillian’s Quilts”. One of his “baby” quilts is owned by tennis star Martina Navratilova which she used for her dog. He made and donated quilts to homeless shelters and abused women’s shelters in the metro area. All of his quilts were sewn on a 1970 Sears portable sewing machine on his back porch. It’s still sitting there if anyone needs a well-broken-in sewing machine.

He developed an interest in genealogy and researched his family trees, creating a rich and interesting legacy for future generations. Along the way, he worked with and belonged to the San Juan County (Colorado) Historical society in Silverton where his mother had been born and became friends with several people, one of whom has safeguarded the welfare of Hillside Cemetery for many decades, Freda Peterson. Dave had a marble bench placed there in memory of his mother. If you’re ever in Silverton – one of the truly unique places in Colorado – seek out Dave’s bench up on the hillside. Freda and her husband Brison Gooch became good friends and enjoyed many evenings chatting about life’s twists and turns over coffee and dessert.

Dave also belonged to his own county’s society, The Foothills Genealogical Society. During this researching adventure, he was often helped by a woman volunteer at the National Archives and Records Administration who turned out to be his cousin, Janet Graham. They met on-line and later learned they lived only a few miles from one another in Lakewood and had met at the records center. He was lucky enough over the years to enjoy interesting company and the famous Janet Graham apple pies.

Dave was an accomplished self-taught cook – so he knew a good apple pie when he tasted one – and enjoyed entertaining folks with all manner of delicacies. His chocolate-dipped potato chips were a marvel to behold but he was also widely known for his innovative hors d’oeuvres for a few friends or a cast of hundreds. There are many people who remember his delicacies at art openings he and fellow artist Lynn Countryman hosted.

He served on the Lakewood Arts Council on its statues in the parks program and was instrumental in the placement of many permanent sculpture pieces in the city’s parks. He was also a patron of the Colorado Symphony, the Denver Art Museum, and spent a small fortune over the years buying tickets to sporting events. Dave was a founding member of WatermelonHeads, a reunion group of friends from all over the country who meet every even-numbered year somewhere pleasant. His traditional gin-spiked watermelon accounts for the group’s name.

Dave was preceded in passing by his parents, his brother Morgan Davis Shrader. and a niece Mara. He is survived by his nephew Dr. Adrian Morgan Shrader, Republic of South Africa, sister-in-law Priscilla Shrader Parke of Florida, close cousins, other nieces, and a bevy of friends.

In lieu of flowers, Dave asked that people so inclined make a small donation to any of the following:

The Denver Hospice, 501 S. Cherry St., Ste 700, Denver Co 80246-1328

Your local chapter of the American Cancer Society

The Westie Rescue Group, Inc., 7895 Mustang Road, Black Forest CO 80908-5014

San Juan County Historical Society, PO Box 154, Silverton CO 81433

Foothills Genealogical Society of Colorado, Inc., PO Box 150382, Lakewood CO 80215-0282

David Shrader Art Scholarship Memorial, 8673 S. Quebec St., Highlands Ranch CO 80130 or efirstbank.com

Dave’s laugh will be remembered by all who knew and loved him.

Mike Fero
Lakewood Colorado
19 October 2009

Posted by All Veterans Funeral & Cremation


9 Responses to David William Shrader

  1. Dawn Sanders and family from England says:

    Our every-other-year Christmas brunch at Table Mountain Inn, in Golden will not be the same without Dave’s gentle presence and his kindly teasing of Kate. But he will always have a special place in our hearts.

  2. Dick Nosbisch says:

    Dave was a true gentleman, artist and inspiring kind individual. I had the pleasure of working with Dave over the years when I was teaching and the Public Relations Director at The Colorado Institue of Art. I will always reminder his laughter. One story I always remember about Dave was this; one year the Art Institue of Colorado was having two pinics for its students, one for its current students and one for its new students, I was in charge of the activities for the pinic. One of these activities was a water balloon throwing contest. Dave came up behind me and throw a big balloon and got me soaking wet. The following week or so we had the second pinic. This time I wanted to get Dave soaked so I ran up behind him and just hit him solid in his back with this big water ballon. As I turned to run away my foot got caught in a bump on the ground and I twisted and fell over another person and broken my ankle in three places. I always blamed Dave (Who really didn’t have anything to do with it) for breaking my ankle. I always told him that it was his fault for breaking my ankle for many years after that. God bless you David and I forgive you for any part you had in breaking my ankle. (Big Smile)

  3. cameron covert says:

    In the 35 some years I’ve known Dave, he was a kind and gentle man; Boyce and I have slept every summer under Dave’s quilt for 13 years now….touched by the artist he was. As long as there are “Melonheads” Dave will always be with us.

  4. Priscilla Parke says:

    Dave, … a gentle soul with a generous spirit. Someone who embraced life and used his talents to help others. His artwork and quilts will bring pleasure to family and friends for years to come – what a great legacy. Dave was a wonderful brother-in-law and my memories of him include many happy times in Kenya, E. Africa, as well as in the States. I know that my son, Adrian, will agree that we feel blessed that he touched our lives.

  5. Jim & Sharon Tyler says:

    Thank you Dave for your laugh, creativity and friendship. Each T-shirt with your design of a watermelon slice brings back a flood of memories of great reunions shared. My favorite celebration was my 30th birthday when you and Mike took me to McDonalds on Colfax for dinner because the main streets were blocked for President Carter on “Sun Day” and we were held up in traffic for a long time. You said the first restuarant we see is where we will eat.

  6. John Ceru says:

    I’ll always remember David’s enthuasim and loyalty to CIA and the studnets when I was FA Director during the late 1970s at CIA. David was strong but fair.

  7. Linda C White says:

    Mike, I had the peasure of knowing Dave at the Art Institute and then the cake was frosted when you two were patients at the eye surgeon’s office in which I assisted. Dave had a laugh and heart as big as himself. He was a rare mix of talent and organization. Our world is much poorer for his leaving.

  8. barney and Tim Fero says:

    Dave was family to us and we will miss him greatly

  9. Robert Parker says:

    Mike, What a beautiful and well-crafted obituary for David. I had no idea he was so involved in so many activities. I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts. Sincerely, Robert Parker

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