My Father – An Amazing Human Being – Tribute To Jack Fadely

By Debra Fadely-Raber 

Updated on Sunday, May 3rd, 2020 While I Fight My Own Battle With Covid-19

The Fadely Family – Marge Fadely with Jack and their children Mark in Marge’s arms and Debra on her dad’s shoulders

I am a good combination of my mom and dad. Many things that were important and interesting to them also intrigue me in a similar way. They are good human beings. Dad loved technology, science, nature, and art. The brain. History. He always had a camera. I often got his hand-me-downs. The first digital one was a Panasonic that had 2.1 megapixels. I received it around 1999. My background is primarily in art, but I also took photography. I think I blend the two in the way I see and process things. After meeting Kevin, I continued to explore photography. My dad loved Kevin. They shared the same vision, sense of humor, and were able to encourage and support each other through many challenges in life. It has taken me many days to begin writing something about my dad. Our good friend, Kim Hood Jacobs, encouraged and enabled me to move forward. I spoke; she typed. We edited back and forth. Our hope is to share more about my dad with you from my perspective and encourage people to do something to help our world be better. Both Kim and my dad’s good friend and co-author, Ginny, have contributed their hearts and words here. I am so grateful to share them with you.

Jack Leroy Fadely, a prominent Indianapolis psychologist, who devoted his life to teaching, researching, writing about human development, and counseling thousands, including many young people seeking career guidance, died on Saturday (April 18th) of COVID-19.  He was 85. 

Jack is survived by the love of his life, wife Marjorie; his wonderful dog, Maggie, and three feral cats: Pretty Boy, Tiggy, and Kitty; brother Edison and Georgia Fadely, sister Joyce and Gary Dillon, brother Bob and Mary Lou Fadely, daughter, Debra, and son-in-law, Kevin Raber; son, Mark, and daughter-in-law, Dina; grandchildren: Claire, and her boyfriend, Jared; Max and his wife, Krista; Jack Henry, and Kirsten. He also had two great-grandchildren, Mia and Ellie, who are Max and Krista’s girls.

Ginny Hosler, his friend, and co-author described him as “a gentleman, an intellectual, a musician, a man of virtue, and integrity.” He was a beautiful spirit on earth, making us laugh, love, and learn.  He had an insatiable appetite for information and could assimilate it with an unlikely interpretation that was so worthy of consideration.  He made a career of his unique talent and launched many into professions they didn’t even know were possible. He was so satisfied when he could help someone see possibilities and actualize their abilities. “His office was his studio, a place to make things happen.”

Jack Fadely was all of these things. And he was my father.

Born in New Castle, Indiana, on Christmas Eve in 1934. His grandfather Meritt Jerome Copeland was influential in his life, fueling his curiosity.  They spent time roaming the woods in the New Castle area, which was rich with Indian graves and arrowheads.  Dad became self-sufficient at an early age, earning money to pay for his own dentist and doctor appointments and, eventually. when he went to college he paid his own way through.

He and my mother both attended Purdue.  They met at the Indiana State Fair in the 4H building one summer when they were working there.  He sang in the Purdue Glee Club, and Marjorie sang in the sorority women’s club. Together, they cut a 45, with both singing on the record, “Too Young to go Steady.” They both sang beautifully. Dad sang with Bob Hope on the Ed Sullivan show.  He served in the army.  In fact, I was born in a military hospital in Germany, where he was stationed.  One of his many jobs was heading up recreation for soldiers, improving the quality of their lives in a place far from home.  As children, we remember he filled our home with sounds from the piano and music. He played drums with brushes in the late ’60s in jazz combos with fellow musicians he knew. His favorite contemporary musician was Pat Metheny. And, his favorite artist was Maxfield Parrish.

A painting that Jack painted in the 70’s

Both my parents worked at LaRue Carter while they earned their master’s degrees.  I was a young child, but remember going swimming with some of the patients whom we knew as our friends.  If someone needed something, dad always found a way to help them get it — if he could. 

Dad went on to earn his Ph.D. from Indiana University in psychology and had a career at Butler University as head of the Psych/Education department.  For 30 years, he taught human growth and development and other classes.  Over his career, he wrote or co-authored at least 35 books.  He researched and wrote on adolescents, alpha children, women, jobs, and careers.  He wrote poetry.  We published a  journal for several years called the White River Quarterly. He wanted to give local writers somewhere to publish. I did the covers, layout, and production while also contributing poems. One of his students made him a Superman suit.  He once wore it while teaching after he made a dramatic entrance through the window. Why not? Jack Fadely was a superman with a super mind and heart. 

As a child, I remember he was a man larger than life with boundless energy and ideas.  On a family holiday, while driving to my grandmother’s farm in Clarksburg, we were speeding along country roads, bouncing up and down in our seats when we came upon a bridge washed out by rain.   To our surprise, dad steered our Chevy Nova, a little white convertible, around the bridge, down the creek bank, over the creek bed, and up the other side.  It sounds like a crazy thing to do that was risky for one’s family.  But we came to know that dad made calculated decisions.  He was a scientist at heart, who relied on numbers and facts.  On this occasion, he knew the geology of the area and knew well that there was bedrock, not mud, under the creek. 

Together, my parents founded Butler University Preschool for gifted children.  In the early 1970s, while at Butler, he started a private practice with his teaching partner, co-author, and colleague, Glenna DeBrota.  They were known for helping large corporations create productive working climates.  They had a radio show at Butler’s station for a few years.  He did marriage counseling, oversaw testing for learning disabilities, and provided advice and career testing for high school students seeking direction.  Dad also lectured nationally about human behavior and was a resource for schools.  Jack Fadely held educators to account.  He expected people to do the right thing.  And he expected people to be good people.

Jack loved painting the sea

Glenna DeBrota and dad retired from Butler University at the same time, leaving behind only a note: “Jack and Glenna have left the building.” Dad was still working in private practice a week before his death.  

He did not know a stranger.  He liked people who were out of the ordinary, i.e., quirky people. He felt there were masses of people who just “aren’t conscious.” He would tap on their door and see if they noticed.  He loved animals too and often rescued them.   When I was in the third grade, he brought home an alligator that was about a foot long. It took over our bathtub while dad found it a home.  There were snakes, cats, and possums.  Dad was the original dog whisperer.  Over his life, he rescued some difficult, hurt creatures, like Carl, a puppy he found roaming the interstate.  He researched and wrote a book on zoos. He was interested in protecting our planet and everything on it.

My brother and I knew that love, and our children knew it too.  All our lives were shaped by family vacations: annual trips to Mammoth Cave and to Michigan, where we visited cranberry bogs and orchards and had dinner at the Grand Mere Inn.  Dad gave us a history and a sense of belonging.   

No matter where it seemed, we ran into people he knew.  I did calculations and figured he had counseled a quarter-million people over 45 years.  He realized the impact of his work but was quiet about it, delighting in movement and results. He was always looking forward, even when time ran out.  Dad knew he had COVID-19 and talked about how scientists would find a cure for the disease.  Dressed head to toe in protective masks, gowns, and eye screens, my daughter, Claire, and I were with him when he slipped the surly bonds of earth to a better place.  

If you knew my dad and have a story you’d like to share please email it to me as I am collecting and saving them as book in memory of him and all the people’s lives he touched.

Today, Emily Dickinson’s poem comes to mind. (Thank you, Ginny.) It is as follows:

This World is not Conclusion (373)

This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond –
Invisible, as Music –
But positive, as Sound –
It beckons, and it baffles –
Philosophy, don’t know –
And through a Riddle, at the last –
Sagacity, must go –
To guess it, puzzles scholars –
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown –
Faith slips – and laughs, and rallies –
Blushes, if any see –
Plucks at a twig of Evidence –
And asks a Vane, the way –
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit –
Strong Hallelujahs roll –
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul –

As a behavioral scientist, Jack Fadely believed voters tended to gravitate toward the mean — voting for average candidates with whom they could relate. He added, “Only if we faced a human or earthly crisis might we seek out and put in leadership an above-average mind who could save us.”  He would want us to learn from his death and from this global human experience.   He would challenge us to do something for others and make our lives worthwhile.

This is such a great family photo- truly defining of our life.

In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to The Center for Vaccine Research at The University of Pittsburgh for COVID-19 Vaccine Research. The federal government chose Pitt’s Center for Vaccine Research as one of a handful of institutions nationwide to receive the virus for study, and our reputation as a center for excellence in health innovation stretches back decades — to the pioneering work of Jonas Salk, inventor of the Polio Vaccine. Pitt has already made progress in collaboration with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations Contributions to take a potential vaccine through Phase I clinical trials in humans. The COVID-19 Vaccine Research Fund will support the continued development of a vaccine that could save countless lives. 

You can also donate to your local food bank, as this is an area of great need. 

Alternatively, you could take on the challenge and find your own creative way to honor Jack Fadely by doing something to make a difference for others. 

Very soon, we will send information about an online service where we will all be able to share some time together. Then later, when restrictions are lifted, we’ll have a celebration of life — somewhere he would have liked, where we can laugh, share, and remember him. 

My mother continues to reside — isolated and on lockdown at Hooverwood, which is a care facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. We had to tell her on a video call that her husband of over 60 years had passed. They now have 23 cases of COVID-19. Not in my mother’s wing yet, but this does not offer much comfort. She tested negative last week, but that was last week. They need to test EVERYONE. Dad was not tested when he left, and they assured us he had not been exposed. Of course, he had. Fortunately, most of us have tested negative. Our doctor would not test us without symptoms, but I was able to find someone’s doctor who approved me to be tested. Since I was negative, Kevin should be too. It doesn’t make sense. We pleaded with our doctor, and they would not do it even though we knew my dad had it. Testing and tracing have to be the standard. Otherwise, we are at the mercy of fate. That is no way to live. Stay home and be safe.

Update As Of May 3rd, 2020

As of April 27, 2020, my mom’s nursing facility has 24 cases of Covid-19 and 9 deaths. Fortunately, for now, there still are no cases in her wing. We would love to just pull her out but her dementia which requires tricky medication along with physical limitations does not allow us to do it. I feel she is in the best place even with all the issues.  In general, they have done a great job but this Covid finds its way in everywhere.  They need a strong testing and tracing protocol in place to get these outbreaks under control.  My dad would possibly still be here if they were able to test everyone.  Only now are they aggressively testing all patients and staff.  Like a lot of things in this pandemic too little, too late.

Now I Have It – My Thoughts and Fears

I have also come down with Covid-19 contracting it when I saw my dad the day he died.  I was all geared up in Personal Protective Gear, but probably when I had my arms around my dad and my head on his chest and holding him when he passed, I might have been too close.  I would not change a thing.  It was such a gift to be allowed to be with him when he died.  St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis was amazing.  In way too many of these cases as I am sure you have read loved one die alone.  They were all about compassion and they understand the importance of family.

I can tell you this has been one of the hardest fights of my life. It is as much psychological as it is physical. I struggle on every level to keep my footing. And, every time you think you have it conquered it comes back again to challenge you.

We all get to worry for a minute whether we would live or die.  Also, who might also be taken?  There seems to be no rhyme or reason who makes it and doesn’t.  There are exceptions, loopholes, genes, immunities, antibodies, plasma, propensity, anxiety, and more anxiety.  This virus is very adaptive.  So many things are at play here like attitude, emotions, grief, sadness, fear, and not knowing if there will be a next day. The mind, body, soul connection all playing a part in the battle and ultimate surrender or fight.

This experience is so fraught with contrasts that ordinarily I embrace allowing it at times to render me so helpless.  This thing has a face and it laughs at you. One minute you think you know who the enemy is and then it completely changes.  It is evil. Invisible, elusive, and present it permeates every cell.  It feels of an entity, a heaviness, it moves, it grabs hard, let’s go over and over.  Everything you thought you knew is reconfigured.  If you are lucky enough and it leaves you, you will not be the same.  You face yourself, your God, the world, and everything becomes rearranged.

Covid-19, I could not have imagined this on any level. So odd to have the world so different inside and outside. It is bigger than any story I have ever heard.  It’s not a single event.  It’s a historical shift that affects every fiber of our lives. While I believe I may be able to live through this at this time I am deeply saddened that I can’t share this with my dad who inspired all the good things of life in me.  I knew it would be hard when the day came to lose my dad I just didn’t want it to be now.  There is no good reason for anyone to be taken before there time.  He still had years left in him.

I still have my mom even though she is different.  She is in assisted living and has dementia.  Much of her beautiful mind is still intact and she is doing OK.  The home she is in is close by and we can talk often. I was equally as close with her as I was with my dad. I suppose I mourn the loss of the relationship the way it was, mother and daughter and friend and mentor.

A few years ago when things started to change for her I was so sad.  But I will embrace now more than ever what I can continue to have with her. My dad was so devoted to her. He visited her every day at least two times a day no matter what. They talked about everything as they did all their lives. He would even take Maggie (his dog) with him on many visits.

Now I am just hopeful that Kevin is OK.  I couldn’t stand to see him suffer what I have been through so far with this virus. He has taken such good care of me, our four cats and Maggie over the last 9 days of this dreadful illness. All while still running the website photoPXL. He tried and tried to get tested and finally was able to on Friday.  We await the result on Monday.

Once we are both assured we are healthy we will bring my dad’s dog, Maggie over and integrate her into our household. We will both try to find our way in life and reconsider so many things.  This has been a learning experience.  Please regardless of what our politicians say use good judgment.  Take the isolation, social distancing seriously.  You don’t want this virus, trust me.  I have never had anything like it.  It has changed everything.

I do hope something good comes out of this.  An opportunity for the world to heal and fix itself.  A chance for all the people in the world who faced the same challenge to come together and realize that all our differences are nothing when compared to battling a disease that kills so easily.

My dad will live within me for the rest of my life.  He taught me so much.  He was the walking definition of what a father should be.  He was my dad.

Meet Maggie the newest addition to the Raber family
Meet Maggie the newest addition to the Raber family

Debra Fadely-Raber
April 2020
Debra Fadely-Raber
Indianapolis, IN

My background is in fine art and photography. I have a BA in Liberal Arts with concentrations in Fine Art and Business. I enjoy working in all forms of media and mixed media. Collage is a favorite. I am interested in combining media and photography in a unique way and plan to create a new series using this method. My work is often described as whimsical. My style was more illustrative in school and then evolved to be more abstract and impressionistic. Today, it is a combination of both. Pairing spontaneity and calculation. I worked in the darkroom in school pushing the limitations of developing to create artistic effects with m photography. In addition to being a psychologist and professor, my father is an artist, photographer, and poet who inspired me to explore the arts. He always had the latest equipment and when digital became available in the early 2000's he gave me one of his digital cameras. I was amazed how much I could push the settings around. Capturing light in interesting ways and then manipulating it in photoshop. I became interested in taking portraits, street photography and still-life images. After meeting Kevin, a new world opened up. Landscape and nature photography. I always enjoyed nature with my family. While growing up, my father was always painting and photographing it. Kevin helped me see differently and learn new techniques, both in capturing an image and in post-processing. He creates beautiful captivating images and is always happy to share that process with everyone. He's been an inspiration. Learning, creating and being passionate about photography is a way of life for him and I have been happy to be able to be part of that both personally and professionally. Gear: I’ve had many cameras from 35 millimeter to the Canon 5D which is what I had when I met Kevin. Since mirrorless was introduced, I’ve used the Panasonic kit for a while, the Sony kit and am now working with the Fuji system. They all have benefits and features. It is fun to experiment. I also use the iPhone as a primary source for creating images. Apps are so fun to use and the source images you can get now are incredible. You can see my photography and art at

Article Type: News, Columns, MISC

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