Cover photo for William Earl Rager's Obituary
William Earl Rager Profile Photo

William Earl Rager

April 27, 1930 — May 9, 2024

West Jordan

William Earl Rager

Our father, William Earl Rager passed away on May 9, 2024, at his home. He was born on April 27, 1930, to Walter Earl and Erma DeVere Rager in Salt Lake City, UT

Dad grew up in Bingham Canyon, which he said was the best place ever.  He played football at Bingham High School, Copperton, Utah. While attending Bingham High School, Bill caught the eye of a young dark-haired ninth grader. For him it was love at first sight.  He later married that dark haired gal, Shirley Faye Cheever, in the Salt Lake LDS Temple on October 21, 1953.

Dad served in the US Air Force from 1950-54.  He was at Utah State University when one of his friends wanted Dad to go with him to talk to some military recruiters.  Dad had no intention of joining but thought it wouldn’t hurt to talk to the Air Force while his friend talked to the Navy.  He signed up, his friend didn’t. Dad was a Radar Gunsight Technician, learning electrical skills he would use toward his career.  He was assigned to airbases in Japan and Korea, where he worked on F-84 fighter/bombers and F-86 jets. He completed his Air Force service at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. He was proud of his service and being a Korean War Veteran.   He wore his “Korean Veterans” cap when he was out and about and loved when people would ask him about it.

When dad was honorably discharged from the Air Force, he and Shirley made their forever home in West Jordan, Utah.  He worked at Kennecott Copper as an electrician. He made many good friends while working at Kennecott. Many of them spent off hours together bowling (a Kennecott Bowling team), golfing and playing cards. He retired from Kennecott in 1985 when they closed down for 18 months. Mom and dad spent time together traveling in their 5th wheel and on many golf courses.  He had 2 “hole in ones”.

When Dad wasn’t working at Kennecott, he was fixing televisions.  Many people knew him as their TV repairman.  Our home was filled many times with TV’s lined up for us to watch and tell dad when they went out so he could find the right tube to fix them.

Mom always wanted to be a nurse. In the mid 1960’s, dad and mom decided she should fulfill her dream and he supported her in going back to school.  Something uncommon in that time period.  He took care of his 5 kids so mom could study and go to her classes. Dad was very proud of his wife and her accomplishments and medical skills.

Mom passed away on October 13th, 2007.  Dad’s heart was broken.  He had their dog Gypsy to keep him company, but it wasn’t quite the same. A year or so later, Dad ran into an old classmate from Bingham High, Donna Jean Gadd Basta.  They quickly became friends again.  They spent 10 years keeping each other company, shopping, dinners and maybe even a little necking here and there. Jean was a lifesaver to Dad. Her company kept him going.  She passed away in 2019. Thank you, Jean, for making Dad so happy!

Dad loved his 5 children, but we truly believe the saying “I had children to have grandchildren” applied to Dad. He adored his grandchildren. He loved hearing from them and their many accomplishments and adventures.  But then he discovered the joy of great grandchildren; their enthusiasm, stories, hugs, visits, including FaceTime visits brought real joy to him.

Dad is survived by his 5 children Dan (Clair) of Riverton UT, Ken (Linda) of Fort Collins, CO; Rochelle (Vern) Meyer of Payson UT. Reanon of West Jordan UT and Brian (Henrietta) of St George, UT.  17 grandchildren, 21 great- grandchildren. Brother: Clare (Mary Agnes) Rager of Sandy, UT. He was preceded in death by his loving wife Shirley Faye Rager, and great grandson Torryn Colt Trux.

Funeral Services will be held Saturday, May 18, 2024 at the River 3rd Ward Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 7150 S. Callie Dr. (1520 W.), West Jordan. Family and friends may visit from 9:30 to 10:45 AM prior to the funeral service at 11:00 AM. He will be laid to rest next to his eternal companion in the West Jordan City Cemetery.

Thank you to neighbors and friends, Canyon’s Hospice and his nurse Paul, Clare and Mary Agnes Rager for all your help and service to Dad.  Especially thank you to Reanon Rager for taking such good care of Dad so he could remain home till his passing, where he wanted to be.  

The service will be livestreamed on the Goff Mortuary Facebook Page at the following link:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Funeral-Service---Cemetery/Goff-Mortuary-116988261695382/
(The livestream video will appear when the service starts.)

William Rager - Funeral Recording.mp3

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