William Strecker

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MONTAGUE, Mich. – William Louis Strecker MD, FACA, 94, of Montague, Mich., passed away Nov. 1, 2018, peacefully at home with his family around him. He was a retired anesthesiologist.

A funeral service is 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Montague United Methodist Church, 8555 Cook Street, Montague, Mich., with Pastor Mike Riegler officiating. Interment is in Oak Grove Cemetery next to his wife. Visitation is 4-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at Beacon Cremation & Funeral Service-White Lake Chapel, 413 S. Mears Avenue, Whitehall. Another visitation is from 10 a.m. until the service time Saturday at the church.

Dr. Strecker was born Nov. 19, 1923, at Terre Haute, Ind., the son of the late Louis George and Rose Marie Myers Strecker. He married Mary E. Stewart June 27, 1946, and she preceded him in death after 71 years of marriage.

He is survived by his seven children, William Louis (Jane) Strecker Jr., Kathleen Marie Francis, Elizabeth Ann Kinder, Mary Patricia (John) Ledyard, John Robert (Audrey) Strecker, Rebecca Suzanne (Mark) Freeland and Martha Jean (Joseph) Sadony; 13 grandchildren, Christopher Grant (Kristen) Kinder, Dawn Elizabeth (Damon) Ashburn, Becka Elizabeth (Brad) Echelberger, Jonathan Michael (Marlaina) Francis, Sarah Michelle (Nate) Van Sell, Jessica Ann (Jonathan) Ledsworth, Suzanne Marie (Josh) Nielson, Matthew Arthur (Janelle) Ledyard, Joseph Alexander (Jamie) Sadony IV, Mary Elizabeth Smith, William Louis Edward Freeland, Anne Marie (Joseph) Dotson and Jacob Stewart Freeland; and 27 great-grandchildren; plus many additions.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Ellen Ray and her husband Pete; son in-law, Ray Francis; and granddaughter, Kristin Anderson.

Dr. Strecker grew up on a farm near Vermilion and attended a one-room schoolhouse where he was the only student in his grade most years. He graduated from Paris High School in 1941. He then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and graduated from the University of Illinois, College of Medicine in Chicago with degrees of BS in medicine and MD.

The first two years of medical school were while serving in the U.S. Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). After serving two years, World War II ended and he was discharged from the service. He met Mary E. Stewart of Montague, Mich., while in medical school and they married between his junior and senior years.

Following medical school, Dr. Strecker completed a two-year family practice internship at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital followed by two extra months in anesthesiology.

After completing the training, Dr. Strecker practiced medicine in Terre Haute, Ind., for the next 50 years. He did both family medicine and anesthesiology for 23 years as an active staff member of St. Anthony’s and Terre Haute Regional Hospitals. Dr. Strecker was also a courtesy staff member at Union Hospital.

In 1973, he passed the American Board of Anesthesiology exam and as a result, Dr. Strecker became a Fellow of the American College of Anesthesiology, FACA. He then limited his practice to anesthesiology until 1999 when he retired at age 75.

In the practice of medicine, Dr. Strecker had a couple of firsts. He was the first to intubate a patient for a tonsillectomy in Terre Haute, and he performed the first CPR in Terre Haute, which was also successful after an hour and 40 minutes of resuscitation.

Dr. Strecker and a colleague attended respiratory therapy seminars at the Indiana University and the Cleveland Clinic. Together they opened the first Respiratory Therapy ICU at St. Anthony’s Hospital. As Director of Medical Education at Terre Haute Regional Hospital, he arranged weekly continuing education programs for the medical staff and assigned freshmen and sophomore medical students from the Terre Haute Center for Medical Education, where he was on the medical Advisory board, to shadow active staff members so they could learn early on what the actual practice of medicine was about.

Dr. Strecker was a member of the lay board of St. Anthony’s Hospital, past president of St. Anthony’s Medical and Dental Staff and chief of the anesthesiology section of the Surgery Department at Terre Haute Regional Hospital for many years. As chairman of the constitution & bylaws committee at St. Anthony’s Hospital, he re-wrote the C&BL on two occasions.

Dr. Strecker taught classes for students at St. Anthony’s School of Nursing. He was always the champion of the nurses, and they knew the he always had their back, as they did his. He was a lecturer at respiratory and ventilatory care seminars for physicians of both hospitals and a frequent lecturer at the annual meetings of the Mid-Winter Medical Conference at Boyne Mountain, Mich.

Dr. Strecker was a member and past president of the Vigo County Medical Society, the Indiana State Medical Association and a delegate from Vigo County Medical Society to ISMA’S House of Delegates annual convention. He belonged to the American Medical Association, Indiana and American Societies of Anesthesiology, Indiana and American Academies of Family Practice and the American Thoracic Society.

Dr. Strecker was presented with the Excellence in Health Care award by the Terre Haute Regional Hospital Foundation and Doctor of the Year Award by Health Care Excell in 1998. He was a founding member and chairman of the board for 18 years of the Peer Review Organization, Health Care Excell that reviewed Medicare cases for the federal government in the states of Indiana and Kentucky. He also served on the board of directors of Blue Shield of Indiana.

After only two years in private practice, and having four children under four years of age, in November 1952, Dr. Strecker was called back to active duty for the U.S. Army to serve in the Korean War as payment for the two years of medical school training under the ASTP.

He was assigned to the First Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, and 3rd Infantry Division in the front lines, serving as the battalion surgeon. During that time, he was awarded the Bronze Star for valor for administering to a critically wounded soldier in the trenches while under enemy fire. Later, after graduating to the Regimental Medical Facility, he attended to sick and injured Belgian soldiers that were attached to the 7th Infantry Regiment, and he was awarded the Croix de Militaire by the Belgian Government. He also received the Korean Medal of Freedom from the Korean Government.

After serving in Korea for a year, he returned to the states and was re-assigned to the U.S. Army Hospital at Fort Crowder, Mo., where he was staff anesthesiologist, assistant chief of surgery and interim hospital commander. In November 1954, he was discharged from the U.S. Army again and returned to private practice in Terre Haute.

Dr. Strecker was active as deacon, trustee and elder in the Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church at Terre Haute and was master mason of the Masonic Temple Lodge #573, later #19, at Terre Haute. He and his wife belonged to the Terre Haute Country Club, Elks Club and Wabash Valley/US Power Squadrons, being past commander WVSP.

They were avid tennis players, downhill skiers and boaters, cruising the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the Great Lakes and canals of Canada. They skied Michigan, Colorado and Montana resorts. Their favorites ski locations being Boyne Mountain, Mich., and Big Sky, Mont.

Dr. Strecker engaged in competitive running including HCA Relays, several marathons and the Boston Marathon at age 57. He belonged to the American Legion and the Society of the Third Infantry Division.

Memorial donations may be made to the Montague United Methodist Church or Unity Presbyterian Church at Terre Haute.  

Beacon Cremation & Funeral Service-White Lake Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Online condolences at www.beaconfh.com.