Saint Ignatius High School

Remembering Thomas Bader '46

Saint Ignatius celebrates the life of Thomas Bader '46, a former president of the Saint Ignatius High School Alumni Association and a longtime member of the Safety Forces Committee. For his many contributions to the school, he was honored with the Founders Award in 1992 for his outstanding service, and the John V. Corrigan Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2007.
Tom Bader '46 died on March 21, 2020, at the age of 92 after battling acute leukemia. Tom is survived by his wife of 65 years, Alice (nee Zuern), their six children, John (Anne), Robert (Mary Kay), Mary Meyer (John), Daniel, James (Mary), and Anne, and his sister, Mary Ball Gorman. He was the beloved grandfather of 16 and the great grandfather of five.

Tom was born and raised in Lakewood, Ohio, the third youngest of the 13 children of Myra Lee Jacquet Bader and William Bader. He attended St. Clement Grade School and Saint Ignatius High School, where he played varsity baseball, graduating in 1946. Tom then enlisted in the U.S. Army and served most of his tour in post-World War II Japan as part of the U.S. Army of Occupation.

At the end of his Army service, Tom used the benefits of the GI Bill to attend John Carroll University and graduated with a B.A. in Sociology in 1952. He then worked for a construction company during the day while attending John Marshall School of Law at Cleveland State University at night, doing his best to ensure that neither work nor school interfered with playing baseball.

After receiving his law degree and passing the Ohio bar exam, Tom joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a Special Agent in 1956. His initial assignment was in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he helped investigate the civil rights violations that occurred during the integration of Little Rock Central High School in 1957. He was transferred to the FBI Resident Agency in Camden, Arkansas, for two years and then to the Field Office in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1959. While in Norfolk he spent a year on assignment to the Surveys and Investigations Staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.

In 1966, Tom was transferred home to Cleveland where he worked as a polygraph examiner, legal counsel, and for his last 10 years, as supervisor of a criminal squad. During his assignment in Cleveland, Tom was one of the lead agents in the successful investigation of the 1969 murders of former United Mine Workers executive Joseph Yablonski, his wife and daughter. Upon his retirement from the FBI in 1979, Tom worked as the Senior Security Advisor for the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (CEI). After 10 years at CEI, Tom left to pursue other interests, which included private investigative work for United Security Management Services and 10 years as a Security Representative for the National Football League in Cleveland. He also performed background investigations for the FBI for 24 years before fully retiring at the age of 88.

Tom was also heavily involved in the Saint Ignatius High School Alumni Association for many years, serving as its president in 1986 and as a long-time member of the Safety Forces Committee.

"Tom was a proud alumnus and an extremely generous person to Saint Ignatius in both his time and treasure," says Director of Annual Fund and Leadership Giving Dan Malone '00. "I always enjoyed my time with him from our friendly conversations on the phone to Wildcat sporting events. He will certainly be missed but has undoubtedly left his imprint on our famed Alma Mater for generations to come."

For his many contributions to the school, he was honored with the Founders Award in 1992, given for outstanding service, and the John V. Corrigan Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2007.

"Tom was very instrumental in providing needed leadership and expertise, which resulted in the successful launch and growth of the Safety Forces group within our alumni network," longtime English teacher Tom Pasko Hon. '96 says. "Our entire Ignatian community, and particularly the Safety Forces community of Greater Cleveland, has lost one of its most respected and exemplary members."

Since 1948 he looked forward to the prospect of another championship season for the Cleveland Indians each spring. Tom was a dedicated family man from his earliest days. He considered marrying Alice and raising their six children as his greatest achievements. Without really discussing it, he and Alice lived by the motto of many Americans: "God, Family, Country." They shared common values and beliefs especially when it involved their Catholic faith. They were able to take their children on lengthy camping trips across the United States and Canada, and relished the many hours they spent with their children and grandchildren at their condominium in Port Clinton on the shore of Lake Erie.

"The most amazing thing about Tom was his faith. He was a rock on the Spiritual Development Committee all the years he served on Alumni Council. Retreats, memorial Masses, days of recollection," says James Moroney '71. "He had that reputation at his parish, St. Angela Merici, as a prayerful, humble, considerate man. Everywhere he went, he was a credit to Saint Ignatius High School."

The Mass of Christian Burial and interment at Holy Cross Cemetery will be private and for immediate family only. Tom's family will have a memorial Mass and reception at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Bader Family Scholarship at Saint Ignatius High School, or to St. Angela Merici Parish in Fairview Park, Ohio.