Roger K. Strand, 93, Merrill, passed away Sunday, August 7, 2016 at home, surrounded by loved ones. Roger was known for his cheerful optimism, love of learning, appreciation of nature, and devotion to family.
Roger was born July 26, 1923, and was preceded in death by his parents, Oliver T. and Mabel Johnson Strand, his brothers Kenneth and Reverend Oliver T. Strand Jr.
Initially selected for a special military engineering program in WWII, Roger ultimately served as a part of the fabled Ghost Army which saved many lives by drawing enemy fire enabling the larger U.S. offensive to launch surprise attacks. Roger fought in the invasion of Normandy, France at Omaha Beach, and progressed through France, Belgium, Luxemburg, and into Germany.
After his honorable discharge, he returned to the University of Iowa, serving as the Vice President of his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, graduating with a degree in business, and then marrying his first wife, Doris Lotts, mother of their two children, Charles and Martha.
Roger spent most of his life in retail sales and management working for International Harvester and J.C. Penney. He operated his own business, Strand’s Department Store in Merrill where he met his beloved wife of 41 years, Nancy.
Roger valued and served his community. He was a member and president of the Merrill Rotary Club, charter member and first president of the Lincoln Community Theater, chairman of the Merrill Chamber of Commerce Retail Committee, M.A.R.C. fund-raising committee, and served on other education, city, and church committees. He taught adult Sunday school, volunteered at the Food Pantry, and along with wife, Nancy, hosted several foreign exchange students including their special daughter, Kaoruko Isawa, of Japan.
Roger enjoyed his home on Riverview Road, the flowers, landscaping, yard, and leisure patios.
Roger is survived by his wife: Nancy Strand of Merrill, son: Charles R. (Elizabeth) Strand of La Quinta, CA, daughter: Martha P. (Walter) Newton of Ogden Dunes, IN, step-children: Jeffrey (Lyrae) Ganz of Rice, MN, Bethany (Doug) Ganz Leonard of Pewaukee, WI and Heather (John) Ganz Poduska of Winchester, MA, grandchildren: Christopher Newton, Matthew Newton, Katherine Hall and Rebecca (Tyler) Strand-Payne, step-grandchildren: Reed Ganz, Austin Ganz, Evan O’Day, Eamonn O’Day, Keegan O’Day, Dominic Leonard, Isabella Poduska, Sophia Poduska and Eva Poduska and nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, August 11, 2016, at Waid Funeral Home in Merrill. The funeral service, officiated by Rev. Missy Holdorf will follow at 11:00 a.m. in the same location. Waid Funeral Home of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.
Burial and military honors will take place at a later date at the Flora Cemetery in Illinois.