Fredrick William Strankman

03/06/1923 — 09/24/2005

From Richland, WA, US | Born in Sumner, Washington

Fredrick William Strankman

Fred W. Strankman, Jr. 82, of Richland, Washington passed away September 24, 2005, surrounded by his family and friends after a courageous and lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Dad was born March 6, 1923 in Sumner, Washington to Ann and Fred Strankman, Sr. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 48 years, Melissa, his parents and sister “Sissy”. He is survived by three sons and their families: Fritz and Shannon, Stan and Virginia, Mark and Debbie, and grandchildren Zachary, Elliott, Tyson and Kristin. The family would like to recognize and thank his good friend, Dottie, for her loyal, loving and constant support. Dad graduated from Puyallup High School and attended Western Washington University before graduating with a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Education from Washington State University. He was, and always will be, a loyal Washington State Cougar and attended many games in Pullman.
Dad served his country as a Lieutenant JG in the U.S. Navy. He was an executive officer assigned to a landing craft support ship and participated in many South Pacific invasions during World War II.
He was a charter member of the Richland Elks and enjoyed his relationship with fellow participants throughout the State, as well as being a lifetime member of the National and Washington Education Associations. Dad and Mom were lifelong members of the Westside United Protestant Church. Dad taught high school in Ritzville from 1949 to 1954 and in the Richland School District at Chief Jo Jr. High, Richland High and Hanford High schools from 1955 to 1981. His accomplishments and hobbies were many and varied. Dad held the basketball scoring record at Puyallup High School for more than 40 years, as well as being named to all-state teams in basketball and football. At Western and Washington State Universities he played on the varsity basketball teams. A little know fact was that he was also named captain of the varsity tennis team at WSU. Other hobbies he enjoyed were fishing, hunting, gardening, traveling, movies, and attending the many activities his family members participated in, especially his four grandkids’ sports events. Dad loved spending time “coaching” his grandkids whether it was how to hit home runs, shooting 3 pointers, holing sand wedges or pounding service aces. He attended all of their local events and enjoyed many road trips from Alaska to Florida to watch “his kids strut their stuff.” Although the above were all important parts of Dad’s legacy, his impressive coaching performance over a 32-year career may be his most lasting gift to the hundreds of students he touched. His athletic teams won many championships and played in many State tournaments. His overall career winning percentage was over 85%. His 1953-54 Ritzville High School football team was undefeated and were State Champions. One year at Richland High School his JV football, sophomore basketball and JV baseball teams won 50 consecutive games. Dad absolutely loved watching his legendary Fred’s Reds as they were called play and presiding over the ''Dixie Cup Tourney'' and “Steak Dinner Shoot Out.” While at Hanford High, his team posted an undefeated football record his first season and a third place finish at the State basketball tournament. Dad always said he had great kids to coach and many players like John Meyers, Ray Stein, Jim Walton, Dan Schwisow, and Greg Thesenvitz went on to play Division I collegiate sports.
Most importantly, Dad was an exceptional, positive influence on whomever he was around. He had a special gift for making any activity fun as well as successful whether it was winning a football game or building a hydroplane in wood shop!
Dad never sought personal recognition but loved to compete, teach, and mentor, no matter what assignment he was given. He wanted to be remembered only as a “good” coach and teacher. There is no doubt he will be!
To his family he will be remembered as a great husband, father, grandpa and friend. Dad - Love you lots and thanks so much!!

Memorial services will be held at 1:00 PM Friday, September 30, 2005 at Central United Protestant Church, Richland. A reception will follow the services at the church.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: Tri-Cities Chaplaincy Hospice House 2108 W. Entiat, Kennewick, WA 99336 or Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation P.O. Box 56, Mercer Island, WA 98040

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Fredrick William Strankman

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  • Fred Strankman Jr was such a good PE teacher and Coach. I loved the man as he would always take the time and talk to you. It didn’t matter to him if you were the greatest at your sport or the kid who couldn’t do anything right, he graded you on your efforts and not being a star. I will always remember his teaching and yes I was one of his players at Chief Jo before I started riding in the Jr. Rodeo’s. I believe at the time he was a assistant coach. Been a long time ago. Thankyou Fred and God’s Speed.

    Carl Franklin

    Carl C Franklin
    November 4, 2014
    Kennewick, WA, US
  • Fred was my high school coach, teacher, counselor and friend. He started his career in Ritzville and I was a freshman. I was lucky to have had his coaching for the entire four years. My folks started me in first grade when I was only five years old, or otherwise I would have been on his signature football team at Ritzville in 1954. My life would have been totally different, but I have no compaints. I know my life would have been good, because either way, it would have been shaped by having known Fred, just as many others lives were effected in a positive way. After high school, I attended the US Merchant Marine Academy, spent five years on the Nuclear Ship Savannah, and then came back to Eastern Washington to work at Hanford. One of the first things I did was to look up my former coach. We were able to get in some good golf, some great hunting and some good times. It was in the hunting category that I was actually better than Fred. Well, why not, I started when I was eight years old and Fred was new at it. It didn’t take long for him to surpass me, but it was fun for a while to mentor the mentor! Two of Fred’s favorite high school players were Fritz Heimbighner, and Vern and Gary Elliot of Ritzville. I think it is more than coincedance that his first son is “Fritz” and one of his Grandson’s is Elliot? Every one that was touched by Fred is going to miss him very much. You had a great Dad. Best of wishes to all of you. Tom

    Tom Edwards
    November 4, 2014
    Richland, WA, US
  • In 1960, the Chief Jo Warrior football team was one win away from an undefeated season. Only Carmichael stood in the way of an unblemished record. At practice, on the night before the game, Coach Strankman says something like, “You guys know that if we go undefeated you’ve got to carry the coach off the field. So we better practice.” And practice we did, first the lift, then the carry, then the cheers – lift, carry, cheer – lift, carry, cheer.

    As predicted, the next day Strankman’s young Warriors pounded on the hapless Cougars. I don’t remember the details of the game, but I’m sure we must have run Strankman’s famous “Statue of Liberty” play. QB Mike Byrd would go back and raise his arm as if to pass, then HB Billy Rulon would snatch the ball from his statue-like arm and streak down the field. Worked every time. In the 4th quarter when victory was certain, Strankman pulled our two biggest linemen, Jim Coyne and Alan Jorgensen, out of the game. When the final whistle blew, it was lift, carry, cheer.

    I’m not sure you could have determined who was having more fun – the team of kids celebrating as they carried their coach, or the kid at heart who was being carried. We loved that guy!

    Thanks coach, I’ll always carry those great Chief Jo memories, just as we carried, on that championship day, a great Chief Jo Coach.

    Sincerely,

    Ray Stein

    Ray Stein
    November 4, 2014
    Spokane, WA, US
  • To the Strankan families,

    We are so sorry to hear about Freds’ passing. In heaven he’ll be relieved of any pain and probably will be playing golf again!

    Remember the great times and there there were plenty!

    I remember when Mom and Dad Ev & Betty Snider moved us kids to Richland. I was in second half of 7th grade at Chief Jo and of course Fred was teaching there. I only knew him as Fred, but felt I would sound disrepectful if I called a teacher by his first name. I confronted Fred about that. He said, “what about Mr. Strankamn” no…I was unconfortable with that too. He said, “you can call me coach like most of the kids”. that sounded great to me…gosh I never had a coach before!!! Told him that was a deal! He was a compassionate person with all of us students and a great family friend of ours.

    He will be missed by all.

    My Mom, our daughter, April and Son, Robert send there prayers with you all.

    God Bless you all,

    The Miller family

    Tom and Patti Miller
    November 4, 2014
    Richland, WA, US
  • Coach definitely was a true classic and a good man. I was truely blessed getting to play basketball for him for three seasons and have many fond memories of those times.

    He kept it simple Richland Basketball man-to-man and pass, cut and screenand fun dixie-cup contests and save the game half court shots and he definitely has been an influence on my life as I have also been coaching youth sports for 8 years.

    I can remember many great “Fred-isms” quotes like “Geez Woody your the worst shooter in ten counties!” and he was the one who gave me my nickname of “Woody” as he never called us players by first name and he said “Ledgerwood” was to dang long!

    My heart goes out to the Strankman family and coach was a true gentleman and a very positive influence for many kids through all the years. You should be very proud of his accomplishments!

    Glen
    November 4, 2014
    Richland, WA, US
  • As a 1968 RHS graduate, I remember your father so well. Mr. Strankman as I will always think of him was a kind man and a very invested educator. He actually cared about how ‘his kids students’ were doing in class and in life. My sons and Fritz and Shannon’s played baseball together through the years. I can remember Mr. Strankman at the those games, encouraging not only his own grandsons and those on their teams, but seemingly every kid on the field. What a role model for the generations who follow him. I am glad he is home now. May his family be granted comfort and peace in their loss.

    Lynn-Marie Hatcher Peashka
    November 4, 2014
    Culdesac, ID, US
  • Fred was a great neighbor, teacher, coach, and father of one of my very best childhood friends. More importantly, he is one of the people that made Richland a special to grow up for generations of students. We always mourn the loss of these special people, but we realize that they will always be around on playgrounds and gyms everywhere for many generations to come.

    Gary Turner
    November 4, 2014
    Portland, OR, US
  • Fred Strankman Jr was such a good PE teacher and Coach. I loved the man as he would always take the time and talk to you. It didn’t matter to him if you were the greatest at your sport or the kid who couldn’t do anything right, he graded you on your efforts and not being a star. I will always remember his teaching and yes I was one of his players at Chief Jo before I started riding in the Jr. Rodeo’s. I believe at the time he was a assistant coach. Been a long time ago. Thankyou Fred and God’s Speed.

    Carl Franklin

    Carl C Franklin
    November 4, 2014
    Kennewick, WA, US
  • Fred was my high school coach, teacher, counselor and friend. He started his career in Ritzville and I was a freshman. I was lucky to have had his coaching for the entire four years. My folks started me in first grade when I was only five years old, or otherwise I would have been on his signature football team at Ritzville in 1954. My life would have been totally different, but I have no compaints. I know my life would have been good, because either way, it would have been shaped by having known Fred, just as many others lives were effected in a positive way. After high school, I attended the US Merchant Marine Academy, spent five years on the Nuclear Ship Savannah, and then came back to Eastern Washington to work at Hanford. One of the first things I did was to look up my former coach. We were able to get in some good golf, some great hunting and some good times. It was in the hunting category that I was actually better than Fred. Well, why not, I started when I was eight years old and Fred was new at it. It didn’t take long for him to surpass me, but it was fun for a while to mentor the mentor! Two of Fred’s favorite high school players were Fritz Heimbighner, and Vern and Gary Elliot of Ritzville. I think it is more than coincedance that his first son is “Fritz” and one of his Grandson’s is Elliot? Every one that was touched by Fred is going to miss him very much. You had a great Dad. Best of wishes to all of you. Tom

    Tom Edwards
    November 4, 2014
    Richland, WA, US
  • In 1960, the Chief Jo Warrior football team was one win away from an undefeated season. Only Carmichael stood in the way of an unblemished record. At practice, on the night before the game, Coach Strankman says something like, “You guys know that if we go undefeated you’ve got to carry the coach off the field. So we better practice.” And practice we did, first the lift, then the carry, then the cheers – lift, carry, cheer – lift, carry, cheer.

    As predicted, the next day Strankman’s young Warriors pounded on the hapless Cougars. I don’t remember the details of the game, but I’m sure we must have run Strankman’s famous “Statue of Liberty” play. QB Mike Byrd would go back and raise his arm as if to pass, then HB Billy Rulon would snatch the ball from his statue-like arm and streak down the field. Worked every time. In the 4th quarter when victory was certain, Strankman pulled our two biggest linemen, Jim Coyne and Alan Jorgensen, out of the game. When the final whistle blew, it was lift, carry, cheer.

    I’m not sure you could have determined who was having more fun – the team of kids celebrating as they carried their coach, or the kid at heart who was being carried. We loved that guy!

    Thanks coach, I’ll always carry those great Chief Jo memories, just as we carried, on that championship day, a great Chief Jo Coach.

    Sincerely,

    Ray Stein

    Ray Stein
    November 4, 2014
    Spokane, WA, US
  • To the Strankan families,

    We are so sorry to hear about Freds’ passing. In heaven he’ll be relieved of any pain and probably will be playing golf again!

    Remember the great times and there there were plenty!

    I remember when Mom and Dad Ev & Betty Snider moved us kids to Richland. I was in second half of 7th grade at Chief Jo and of course Fred was teaching there. I only knew him as Fred, but felt I would sound disrepectful if I called a teacher by his first name. I confronted Fred about that. He said, “what about Mr. Strankamn” no…I was unconfortable with that too. He said, “you can call me coach like most of the kids”. that sounded great to me…gosh I never had a coach before!!! Told him that was a deal! He was a compassionate person with all of us students and a great family friend of ours.

    He will be missed by all.

    My Mom, our daughter, April and Son, Robert send there prayers with you all.

    God Bless you all,

    The Miller family

    Tom and Patti Miller
    November 4, 2014
    Richland, WA, US
  • Coach definitely was a true classic and a good man. I was truely blessed getting to play basketball for him for three seasons and have many fond memories of those times.

    He kept it simple Richland Basketball man-to-man and pass, cut and screenand fun dixie-cup contests and save the game half court shots and he definitely has been an influence on my life as I have also been coaching youth sports for 8 years.

    I can remember many great “Fred-isms” quotes like “Geez Woody your the worst shooter in ten counties!” and he was the one who gave me my nickname of “Woody” as he never called us players by first name and he said “Ledgerwood” was to dang long!

    My heart goes out to the Strankman family and coach was a true gentleman and a very positive influence for many kids through all the years. You should be very proud of his accomplishments!

    Glen
    November 4, 2014
    Richland, WA, US
  • As a 1968 RHS graduate, I remember your father so well. Mr. Strankman as I will always think of him was a kind man and a very invested educator. He actually cared about how ‘his kids students’ were doing in class and in life. My sons and Fritz and Shannon’s played baseball together through the years. I can remember Mr. Strankman at the those games, encouraging not only his own grandsons and those on their teams, but seemingly every kid on the field. What a role model for the generations who follow him. I am glad he is home now. May his family be granted comfort and peace in their loss.

    Lynn-Marie Hatcher Peashka
    November 4, 2014
    Culdesac, ID, US
  • Fred was a great neighbor, teacher, coach, and father of one of my very best childhood friends. More importantly, he is one of the people that made Richland a special to grow up for generations of students. We always mourn the loss of these special people, but we realize that they will always be around on playgrounds and gyms everywhere for many generations to come.

    Gary Turner
    November 4, 2014
    Portland, OR, US
  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Gerva and Mariion Hughes
    November 4, 2014
    Pasco, WA, US
  • Great coach @ chief jo during the early 60’s. Thought of often with fond memorys.

    John R. Foster
    November 4, 2014
    Kennewick, US
  • My condolences on your loss. I always considered your dad and whole family the best neighbors I ever had.

    Tom Dillon

    Tom Dillon
    November 4, 2014
    Richland, WA, US
  • Condolences to the Strankman family. Mr. Strankman was one great guy. I know you will miss him.

    Anna Durbin
    November 4, 2014
    Ardmore, PA, US
  • We are very sorry for your loss. You have our deepest sympathy. God bless you all.

    Dennis Kerwick
    November 4, 2014
    Richland, WA, US
  • My friendship with Fred started in Ritzville High School when he was our football coach. His mannerisms and direct talk always kept you completely up to date where you stood with him. A tremendous person and a true friend.

    Gary
    November 4, 2014
    Lynnwood, WA, US
  • As a “non-jock” in junior high school at Chief Jo 1957-’60 I admired and respected Coach Strankman for the even-handed way he ran his PE classes. He encouraged all of us to be our best, whether they were a gifted athlete or not. In that way, he was ahead of his time. He will be missed.

    Ray Kelly
    November 4, 2014
    Henderson, NV, US
  • I taught with him at CJ. I really enjoyed him and his calm and quiet way of looking at life. He was a good coach and kids really responded to his teachings. I know he will be missed and we pray for the family.

    Gene Keller
    November 4, 2014
    Tacoma, WA, US
  • I just want to give my condolences to the Strankman family. Coach Strankman was a very positive influnce in my life. even though I drove him crazy most of the time he still found humor in my actions and never held a grudge! I can still remember the day he called me a “Prima Donna” at basketball practice or Coach shaking his head and saying “Geez” when Ron Everham would do something offensive! I have to smile when I think of Coach Strankman. I’m sure he is looking down from Heaven and saying ‘Geez Rish that is enough!!!” Take Care

    GREG RISH
    November 4, 2014
    Covington, WA, US
  • We are so sorry to hear about your loss. Carson will give Kristen extra love this weekend at the soccer game. Our thoughts are with you and the family.

    The Godinez Family
    November 4, 2014
    Kennewick, WA, US
  • One of the few teachers I had that cared about everyone that went through his classes. A real gentleman.

    Greg Poynor
    November 4, 2014
    Anchorage, AK, US