Geraldine “Gerry” Rader Cantrell

Posted By | September 4, 2019 11:17 am

Last Updated: September 4, 2019 at 2:07 pm

Geraldine (Gerry) Rader Cantrell, 90, passed away Sept. 1, 2019, in Sparta.

Mrs. Cantrell was born May 31, 1929, in Springfield, Missouri, to Reva Miller Rader and Joseph Berlin Rader, who preceded her in death.

Growing up in Missouri, the family moved to McMinnville, where she met and married Forest Clark Cantrell, in 1949. Her husband preceded her in death, in 2011, after 62 years of marriage.

A 1969 graduate of McMinnville Central High School, she was   employed as society editor of “The Southern Standard,” the town’s newspaper. She later worked at McMinnville Garment Company as a machine operator and later in the office. When her husband went to the U.S. Air Force, in 1951, she worked in the office at Mead Bakery, then Sandia Air Force Base, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When he was transferred to Travis Air Force Base, California, she worked in the office of Yuba Mfg. in Benecia, California. They returned to McMinnville, in 1955, then moved to Cookeville, Tennessee, for eight years, then to Sparta, until her death.

She was active in community and church organizations. In Cookeville, she served as president of Capshaw PTA and Cookeville Jaycettes. She taught Sunday School at First Baptist Church until they moved to Sparta, in 1964. In Sparta, she served as president of the White County PTA Council and was the first female president appointed to serve as permanent chairman of the grand jury. She was secretary of the United Givers Fund. She retired from Sparta Electric and Water System, in 1989, after 17 years. She was a member of Sparta First Baptist Church, where she taught Sunday School for over 40 years and was involved in the United Woman’s Missionary Union in the church and association. She was responsible for starting the Help Center in Sparta and the Prison Ministry, in Pikeville.

Survivors include two sons and their family, Dr. F. Clark Cantrell Jr. and wife Amy, of Atlanta, Mark Rader Cantrell and wife Connie, of Franklin; six grandchildren, Forrest Clark Cantrell III and wife Sarah, of Cookeville, Nikki, Kimmi, and Corey, of Atlanta, Cody, of Sparta, Christina, of Washington D.C.; a great-granddaughter, Reghan McLane, of Cookeville; a sister and brother-in-law, Sharon Rader Cummings and husband Francis Grey Cummings, of Brentwood; and two nephews and their families, Christopher Grey Cummings and son, Christopher Grey Cummings II, Jonathen Rader Cummings and wife Bridgett and daughter Brianne, of Pegram.

Funeral service will be 2 p.m., Sept. 8, 2019, at Oak Lawn Funeral Home, with burial in Mountain View Cemetery, in McMinnville. Bro. Brad Walker will officiate. The family will receive friends noon-2 p.m., Sept. 8, at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to CureFest for Childhood Cancer Research. Oak Lawn Funeral Home will forward the charitable donations.

Oak Lawn Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.



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