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Monday, March 25, 2024

Memoriam: Richard Strader

If you had walked the streets of Marshall, Michigan, during the late 1980s and 1990s, John Bellairs's fans would have encountered area residents dressed as Lewis Barnavelt, Miss Eells, the wet ash-scented Moss Ghost from The Figure in the Shadows (1975), and other familiar figures. Near the Cronin House would have been Uncle Jonathan Barnavelt, dutifully portrayed by local educator Dick Strader. That's him at work, as shown in the May 18, 1991, edition of the Battle Creek Enquirer.

We're sad to report Strader passed away on Feb. 20 in Marshall.

Born in Cincinnati, he was an elementary and middle school teacher, a library media specialist, and a children's librarian at Willard Library in Battle Creek. He also served on the board of Northlands Storytelling Network, led workshops for the Mosaic Storytelling Showcase, and starred in numerous theatrical productions with Marshall Civic Theater. His obituary noted this combined love of storytelling, theater, and literature appreciation made for lively portrayals of Uncle Jonathan at the house Bellairs used as inspiration for The House With a Clock in its Walls (1973).

Strader was 83.

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