From Joseph Agee, Narada’s Brother
Narada was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. This is a major town at the most southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, one the largest agricultural regions of the world. Our family goes back several generations, many having arrived in the 1880’s, with last in the early 1900’s. The family business was a long-established funeral home, Payne and Son, that his father, Herman Agee, directed until his death in 1961.
People may be surprised to know that Narada, in his teens, was an avid racing enthusiast for both boats and cars. We were privileged to have very sophisticated models of these vehicles and it’s my guess that this is where he got some of his proclivities and talent for mechanical things. The electric car he built recently is certainly a good example of what he could do!
Narada went to Catholic schools throughout his education, and attended high school at the St. Thomas Military Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota. I started at the academy a year later so we spent three years together in a starkly cold environment about as far away from sunny California as you can get. However, I think this experience greatly helped his transition into the Army as it did for me. Fortunately we made many trips across country going back and forth from St. Paul to Bakersfield and got to traverse the cornfields of the Mid-West to the vast desert regions of the West.
After graduation in 1961, Narada began working in the funeral home with his dad. When his dad died, he continued working in there to assist his mother, who later opened a new funeral home in Shafter, a small town outside of Bakersfield. He remained there until 1965, when he was drafted into the US Army. He was stationed in Korea until he was discharged in 1967. From there he moved to Alaska where his sister, Loretta, was living with her family in Soldotna, a small town on the Kenai Peninsula, not far from Anchorage.