UNADILLA – Clarence Robert (Bob) Strom, 87, an American History teacher at Otego and the Unadilla Central School District for almost three decades, passed away Sunday, March 22, 2020, at Bayfront Health Hospital, Punta Gorda, Fla.
He was born in Erskine, Minn., on July 28, 1932, the son of the late Adolf and Fedilise Strom. Bob graduated from Swanville High School in 1950. After graduation Bob enlisted in the Navy. He served aboard the aircraft carriers USS Antietam and USS Shangri-La during the Korean War.
After the Navy, Bob and his family lived in St. Cloud, Minn., where he attended the University of Minnesota under the GI Bill, graduating with a dual major in History/Physical Education and earned his master’s degree in education from the SUNY Oneonta.
In 1959 he moved to Otego, where he was an American History teacher and coached baseball and football for 28 years. He was the chairman of the Social Studies department for 15 years. He spent 25 summers as the recreation director for the Village of Otego. He helped to organize the Little League and other sporting activities including the building and maintenance of the Otego pool.
Bob will be remembered as a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle, teacher, coach and friend. He deeply cared for his family, students/athletes and community. During his teaching tenure he was awarded the Teacher of the Year, something that truly touched his heart. He was a member of committees that brought in federal funds for the school library and Social Studies Department. He was also part of the Faculty Scholarship committee that helped provide 2 annual scholarships.
His son Jim also remembered that Bob struggled with dyslexia. As a teacher he recognized and had a heart for students that had difficulties with reading. He would often stay after class to help them with reading the course materials. As a teacher he was always there for his students. He was a mentor, lending support to students both inside and outside of school. He thought outside the box and the curriculum, including teaching his student’s important life skills like how to do their income taxes and how to dance!
Bob was passionate about many things including golf, which he played weekly right up until 2019. He was a member of the Oneonta County Club for over 50 years. In recent years he joined the Sidney Country Club and ran into many of his former baseball and football team players. He delighted in reconnecting with them and talking about the “old days”. He was a member of the Oneonta Elks Club, American Legion and the Retired Otsego County Teacher’s Association.
He loved the horseraces, casinos, poker and above all, he was a diehard New York Yankees fan. His favorite player of all time was Yogi Berra who appeared in 14 World Series as a member of the Yankees and won 10 of them.
Bob is survived by his wife of 46 years, Andrea Strom of Unadilla, NY; son, James (Jane) Strom of Castle Rock, Colo.; daughters, Lois (Rod) Gould of Unadilla, Nancy (Dave) Perling of Phoenix, Ariz., Jo Ann (John) Kishbaugh of Unadilla, ; five grandchildren, Chris Perling of Austin, Texas, Erin Perling of Phoenix, Ariz., Megan (Jason) Dewey of Afton, Emily (Sam) Ackerman of Hartwick, Wren Gould of Philadelphia; a very special great-grandson, Charlie Dewey of Afton; brother, Donald Strom of Little Falls, Minn.; sisters-in-law, LaVonne Strom, Iowa, Joyce Strom of Little Falls, Minn.; brother-in-law, Ken Ostgard of Sun City, Ariz., and many beloved nieces and nephews in Minnesota, Illinois, Arizona and Alaska who he treasured. He is also survived by sisters and brothers-in-law from New York, Patty (Ken) Hughes, Oneonta, Ann (Len) Cairns, Bovina Center, Andrew (Sue) Sabedra, Oneonta, Charlie Markle, Milford, and many beloved nieces and nephews from New York State. He was also survived by many treasured life-long friends including, Dick Piccolla, Al Marsh, Dick (Lefty) Carrol, and Ward Coe.
He was predeceased by his brothers, Edwin, Joe, Harold, Hubert, Allen and Raymond; sisters, Margaret, Genevieve, Donna, Carol and Pat; and Jeanne Strom, mother of their children.
Bob’s family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the multiple healthcare providers at the Albany VA, Bainbridge VA Clinic and Bayfront, Binghamton, Fox and Bassett hospitals for their compassionate and phenomenal care he received over the years. A special thanks also to his Otego Central School and Unatego Junior-Senior High School family including teachers and students who have all expressed their heartfelt sympathies. Their kind words and recollections of Bob have deeply touched his family’s hearts.
Due to the current New York State limitations on public gathering for health reasons, the private memorial service for immediate family only will be provided by Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono Funeral Home at the Evergreen Cemetery in Otego, with graveside military honor guard on Monday, March 30. Father Ben Ampong of Sidney Sacred Heart Church will be officiating the service. A “Celebration of Life” for Bob will be planned and announced at a later date.
For those wishing to remember Bob with a memorial gift, his family respectfully asks that donations go to either of the following organizations:
Korean War Veterans Association, 430 West Lincoln Ave., Charleston, IL 61920-3021. Please denote that this is donation to the General Fund in memory of Bob Strom. This organization helps many Korean War veterans and their families. Bob’s cousin Cpl. John (Jackie) Strom entered the Army in 1950 and was part of the 1st Battalion, 8th Calvary Regiment. On the night of Nov. 1, 1950, his unit was overrun by Chinese troops near the village of Unsan. He was reported missing in action and remained missing in action until 55 years after his death. His remains were recovered in 2005 and returned home to Minnesota. Because of the great work that KWVA does and his eternal love for his cousin Jackie, Bob would be honored to have donations go to this organization.
Another organization is the World Health Organization’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Fund. The World Health Organization is leading and coordinating the global effort, supporting countries to prevent, detect, and respond to the pandemic. To donate, please go to www.who.int. Select the COVID-19 Response donate button on the right side of the page. To donate by check, please mail donations to: United Nations Foundation/COVID 19 Fund, P.O. Box 96619, Washington, DC, 20090-6619
Lastly, in honor of Dad’s love for his favorite baseball player, this quote from Yogi Berra reminds us of Bob. “I tell the kids, somebody’s gotta win, somebody ‘s gotta to lose. Just don’t fight about it. Just try to get better”.
Expressions of sympathy may also be made at www.lhpfuneralhome.com
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono Funeral Home, Oneonta, New York and Johnson-Taylor Funeral & Cremation, Punta Gorda, Florida.