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Woody

Update on Junior Strassil

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 I just got this message on Facebook regarding Junior "Woody, J.r. is in the nursing home now permanently. He is in HOSPIS Care. I am living in the house Melissa moved her family here to help take care of us. We are having a card shower for Junior's birthday if you would send a card that would be great! Falls City Care Center 2800 Towle Street, Falls City, NE 68355 _funny is great. Please pass this information on to other friends you have in common The date is February 27. I pray you and your family are well."  It would be great if he got cards from all of you

 

Jr. Strasil (Irnsrgn)

Falls City Care Center

2800 Towle Street

Falls City, NE 68355

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Junior's wife Cookie posted this on Facebook this afternoon.  "To my friends and family my husband Jr. Has turned for the worse. Family are coming from out of town, arriving today. We pray Jr. is as comfortable as possible and that God will give peace to his loved ones through this time of their lives. God has touched my life and given me peace and I am so grateful for His love. May everyone know the joy of God's love to the fullest as I have since November."  It doesn't look like we will have this wonderful man and great blacksmith for much longer. 

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Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family!!!!  May Gods great will come and bring peace! 

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Thank you for the update. Please let Cookie she and Jr. are on the list.

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Jr. and family are in our prayers here. May God bless and grant peace.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Cookie posted this on Facebook last night.  "Last night Junior passed away. Ending his long battle with back pain and recent battle with aneurysms, he is at peace."  We have lost one of the most talented and creative artists who worked in metal and wood.  Eternal rest grant unto him O'Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace, Amen. 

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Our condolences to the family and friends.

Junior was one of a kind and will be missed.

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Early this morning this wonderful man passed away. He is in a better place and now can see his family again. Today we lost a great deal of knowledge from the Blacksmith community. And to day I lost a grandfather. I was lucky enough to have this man as a grandfather and teacher. I will always cherish you tools and you knowledge that you handed down to me.

To you Grandpa I'll give your anvil a big hug today.

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Jr was one of if not the first blacksmith I met when I first started blacksmithing 15 or so years ago. He lent me my first anvil which I later purchased from him. He taught me many valuable lessons in blacksmithing, welding and life in general. I regret my lack of contact with him in the last few years but he was generally not far back in my thoughts, especially when I would go into my shop or even simply think about smithing. My fondest memory was a small impromptu gathering including Steve *Ten Hammers* O'Grady, Jr and myself in Jrs shop which the shop in itself was a virtual wonderland for blacksmiths! He will indeed be missed 

Mvc-012s.jpg.e4032aeb8ddb2fbc56c44c2d3f3 

Left to right: Steve, myself and Jr. We were doing a blueprint on welding which regretfully is lost to the upgrade gods ;)

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Way back when....Jr was one of the very first "online" Smith's I had met in a blacksmithing chat room after getting a bit techy buy getting a computer and exploring the world wide Web.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Jr. In person on a traveling road trip loop I made to meet a bunch of Smiths that I've known within the chat room here on IFI.

While spending 2 days visiting Jr., I rebuilt a 165lb. Peter Wright anvil in Jr's shop - during the hottest/most humid week of the summer. I still use this anvil - as it is my preferred "go to" anvil. We swapped many stories of onsite welding repairs and blacksmithing related forgings and metalwork in general. The time I spent with Jr. I will always cherrish, as we had many common interests.

Jr. will be missed by many, I don't think his family knows how many lives he has touched in the blacksmithing community via the internet. Rest in peace Jr.

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Prayers and thoughts of strength go out to Jr. Family he is in a greater place that we can all hope to make it to someday.  Cookie will be in touch on memorial.

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Junior, Cheryl (Baby Anvil) and myself in Junior's shop a few years ago when I made a trip down there to give Cookie my late wife, Candy, oxygen concentrator.  I will always remember that visit.  I had a great time seeing a few of the tools that Junior made.  A spring pole lathe, a treadal powered jig saw.  Japanese hand saws that cut on the pull stroke, these were made from scratch.  He cut out the blade, cut the teeth, beveled and set the teeth and constructed the handle.  They cut like a hot knife through butter.  If you were never in Junior's shop and the basement of his house, you missed something truly worthwhile.

Jr Strassil.jpg

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Email from Jr's Daughter

 

Today I am finally getting to sit down and respond to all of the wonderful kindness of all of my friends and family that have posted something about my father. For those of you who may not have heard, my father Harry Strasil, Jr or Junior as most people called him passed away Thursday morning a little after midnight. He is finally at peace and will be joining his parents, my mother Sylvia who passed in 2004 and my brother Jeff who was taken from us in 1987 after being struck by lightning. He has been ill for several months and will no longer be in pain or suffer any longer. This will be my attempt at a tribute to my fathers life.
My father was a kind, loving, intelligent person. He loved his family and worked very hard to take care of all of us. After all it takes a lot of hard work to take care of 4 children. He was man of strong moral character and love for his community and country. Most people would know my father for the humor he had. If you walked into his shop you would automatically be told a joke or some funny story before any business was conducted. He was one of those kind of people that you loved or hated and if you didn't like him you had great respect for him. He was a man of many talents. He started out his life working in his fathers blacksmith shop as an apprentice when he was at the age of 7 in 1951. He left school in 1962 and joined the Navy. During his naval service he was attached to the MCB (Mobile Construction Battalion) 3. During his tour in the SeeBees he was in Thailand, Okinawa, Vietnam. His time in the SeeBees was cut short when a shotgun exploded in his face and caused him to loss of his right eye, damaged his hearing in the right ear and powder burns to his face. (When I was a child we used to bring our friends over to see my dad because the powder burns caused him to have blue freckles which was pretty cool to show off. How many people have you ever seen with blue freckles.) He was separated from service in 1965 and then served in the active reserve until discharge in in 1968. Upon returning home to Falls City he worked for his father once again and also Silver Star Shows a traveling carnival in this part of the country. This is where he met my mom. Both sets of my grandparents and my parents worked for this carnival company. (And yes that does make me a carny kid and it was awesome! HA! HA!) After the carnival changed hands my father started his own portable welding business which grew into a prosperous business. He continued to work in his fathers shop and then bought it in 1980. He was a true blacksmith in every aspect. Some people may think that a blacksmith is someone who just shoes horses since that is usually how they are depicted in pictures and on TV. Yes blacksmiths did shoeing, but they were also master craftsmen who worked with steel, wood, fabric and pulled an occasional tooth. He loved to incorporate new ideas with old ways and vice versa. He was an incredible wood worker and created many tool boxes and tables with beautiful ornate designs on them. He created his own blue prints for all of the jobs he constructed. There wasn't any thing he could not create or construct. He has created many ornate metal pieces that can be seen around Falls City such as the water tower in John Falter Park, hand rails for many of the area churches and bell towers. He was a man of great community pride. He was a member of the Falls City Volunteer Fire Department for over 25 years of which he was chief for 11 years. He was always looking for ways to improve the fire department to better serve the community. He was active in many organizations. He was a past president and news letter editor of the National Blacksmith and Weldors Assoc. He was on the board of directors, news letter editor and a past president of the Nebraska Blacksmith, Weldors and Machinests Assoc. He was a past president, news letter editor and secretary/treasurer for 30 year for the Southeast Nebraska Blacksmithing, Weldors and Machinists Assoc. and was a member of the Prairie Blacksmith Assoc. He was a member of the DAV Chapter 43 and served as an officer for many years. He was a member of the local Ham Radio Operators club. ( I always thought it was pretty neat to listen to him sending morse code out on the radio.) He was also a teacher, teaching layout and welding classes at many Vo-Tech Schools in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. He did blacksmith demonstrating around the country and taught blacksmithing techniques at Hammer-Ins across Nebraska and the US. He designed and constructed most of his blacksmithing tools, which were in high demand by other smiths, especially his hammers which were unique in balance and design and ease of use. He has posted on many web sites and given totorials and demos on woodworking and metal working . You can see some of his work and designs on Iforgeiron.com. My father was very proud of his military service and his heritage as a 3rd generation blacksmith. Above all he loved to share his knowledge with those willing to learn. He instilled in me many things of which I am greatful. He has made me the person I am today. I hope that I have given him justice with my rambling. My father has donated his body to science to help new doctors learn. We will be having a Memorial Service for him on March 19th. Our family is asking you all to send funny birthday cards instead of sympathy cards. His birthday would have been in a couple of weeks and this would be fitting for a man that was always trying to make people laugh. If you wish to send a sympathy card please do so. We will also be putting any donations received towards the Jeff Strasil Scholarship Fund. You may send cards to 604 W 25th St, Falls City, Nebraska 68355. Dorr and Clark Funeral Home will be handling the service. I will post exact time and place at a later time. Please share this with anyone you wish. My father has touched the lives of many people around the world. Thank You for your kind thoughts and prayers.

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Regrettably, I learned of Junior's passing a few days too late to communicate with him directly.  I'm sure my birthday card arrived too late.  My heart-felt sympathies to his family and close friends.  I have three hammers Junior made for me, one of which (a 1lb cross peen) he took from Baby Anvil to send to me.  Sorry Baby Anvil, I know he planned to replace it. I still use those hammers frequently.  Junior was a humble but truly remarkable man who forgot more about blacksmithing than most of us know.  God bless you Junior, He likely has great plans for you!

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