Reverend Dr. Harold Locke Reader
The emerging church called Rev. Harold Reader in August, 1913, as the first pastor of the Webster Groves Baptist Church. Reader was born at Marblehead, Massachusetts, May 6, 1885, a son of John Jordan and Sarah Emma Reader. On his mother’s side he is descended from the family of the English philosopher, John Locke. He was reared in Illinois, beginning his primary education at Carrollton, Greene County, while in June, 1903, he graduated from the high school in East St. Louis. Following his graduation he attended the Washington University in St. Louis, becoming at that institution a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Later he entered Shurtleff College at Alton, Illinois, where he was twice president of his literary society, the Sigma Phi. He received the Doctor in Theology degree. He was ordained to the gospel ministry while pastor of the Winstanley Baptist Church in East St. Louis at the age of twenty-two years. In April, 1910, he was called to the pastorate of the West Park Baptist Church in St. Louis. His interest in young men led to the erection by that church of a gymnasium building around which the activities of the young men could center.
Harold Locke Reader was married in 1911 to Jennie L. Hall, (1886-1914) and soon afterwards the state of his wife’s health necessitated a change of residence to Denver, Colorado. In 1913 he returned from the west and in August of that year was called to the newly organized Baptist church in Webster Groves. His wife Jennie died October 24, 1914.
Rev. Reader then married Inez Sly Reader and they were the parents of Helen Locke Reader, born in June, 1924. Harold’s second wife Inez also traveled to Colorado for health reasons in 1924. Inez died January 23, 1925. Harold’s third wife Blanche E. Taylor Reader joined the WGBC in 1928. She also preceded Harold in death. The daughter Helen married Andre’ M. DeVetter and they had one son, Jon Reader DeVetter. Dr. Reader, 80 years old, died January, 1966, in St. Petersburg, Florida. Funeral Services were held February 14, 1966, at WGBC. Burial was beside his wife Inez and wife Blanche at the Lake Charles Memorial Park on St. Charles Rock Road.