US Navy

John Howard Strauss

May 14, 1947 ~ January 26, 2024 (age 76) 76 Years Old

John Strauss Obituary

Captain John Howard Strauss, USN (Ret.) passed away peacefully on Friday, January 26, 2024 at his home in Niles, Michigan, surrounded by family. His death follows a seven year-long battle with Multiple System Atrophy, the result of exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.  As his health declined and he became increasingly disabled, he faced his challenges with grace and gratitude for the loving care he received from family and at Brentwood of Niles, Caring Circle Hospice, Noracare, and Home Sweet Home Care.  

Born in Buffalo, New York, to Howard and Harriet Strauss, John was raised in a strong Christian family.  Along with siblings Paul, Roger, Carol and Robert, John attended Cazenovia Park Baptist Church and Randall Memorial Baptist Church.  He worked various jobs during high school, most noteworthy as a toll collector, which he always reminded his family about during road trips.  He graduated from Clarence Central High School in 1965 where he especially enjoyed participating in team sports.  Accepting his appointment to the United States Naval Academy, he was a member of the Class of 1969 (32nd Company).   

His first active duty naval assignment was aboard the USS Henry W. Tucker (DD 875), serving as a First Lieutenant, Communications Officer and Operations Officer.  In 1973, he reported to the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. where he monitored special projects for two years. Exercising his option as an Arleigh Burke Scholar, he attended the University of California, where he earned a Master’s of Mechanical Engineering degree in 1977.  

His second sea tour commenced in August 1978 as Engineering Officer onboard USS William H. Standley (CG 32).  His next sea tour was aboard USS Hoel (DDG 13) as Executive Officer.  During this assignment, USS Hoel earned the Arleigh Burke Award as the most improved unit in the U.S. Pacific Fleet.  In President Ronald Reagan’s 1983 Radio Address to the Nation on the observance of Easter and Passover, Hoel’s crew was recognized for rebuilding a community ruined by the terrible bushfires in south Australia. 

As a Commander, John served as Executive Officer of U.S. Naval Station, Subic Bay, Philippines, the largest overseas naval base in the world, from September 1983 to August 1986.  During this time in the Philippines, the world witnessed the peaceful overthrow of a dictatorship and the inauguration of democratically elected President Corazon Aquino.  Returning to the United States, John served as Commanding Officer of the USS Davidson (FF 1045) and USS Joseph Strauss (DDG 16), both homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i.  In March 1989, John was promoted to his final rank as U.S. Navy Captain and worked in Crystal City, VA until his retirement in April 1993.  John treasured the many lifelong friendships made in the Navy.

John’s civilian career first brought him and his family to Champaign, Illinois, where he worked at Carle Foundation Hospital from May 1993 to November 1997.  In January 1998, he began work for the Sisters of the Holy Cross in South Bend, Indiana and the family settled in Niles, Michigan.  From 2001-2012, he served as the Assistant Superintendent of Facilities for the South Bend Community School Corporation. 

Music had always played an integral part of John’s life.  He played the accordion since youth and could always be counted on to play entertaining Christmas carols and birthday tunes.  As a midshipman, he performed with the USNA Glee Club for all four years and served as President of the Academy’s Protestant Church Choir.  It was only natural that when he relocated to the Michiana area, he would find a musical community with the South Bend Valleyaires barbershop chorus and the Corpus Christi Church Choir “New Harmonies”.  

John and his wife Nancy were blessed with over fifty years of marriage. With Nancy’s tireless support, the four Strauss children did their best to adjust to a constant life of change and bloom where they were planted.

Preceded in death by parents Howard and Harriet Strauss, in-laws Wallace and Bebe Ullman and brothers Paul and Roger Strauss.  Left to cherish his memory with his wife Nancy are children: Kathryn (Mark) Iammartino, Robert (Brooke Tichenor) Strauss, Philip Strauss, and Mariette (Brendan Hoelmer) Strauss; five grandchildren: Alice, Thomas, Bennett, Charlie and Francis; sister Carol (John) Thompson; brother Rob (Sue) Strauss; sisters-in-laws Cheryl Strauss, Rody Strauss and Betty (James) Stewart; many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Final resting place National Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawai’i.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Corpus Christi Catholic Community (South Bend, IN), St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish (Niles, MI) and South Bend/Mishawaka Valleyaires (Mishawaka, IN).

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February 4, 2024

2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Kaniewski Funeral Home
3545 N. Bendix Dr.
South Bend, IN 46628

February 4, 2024

5:30 PM
Kaniewski Funeral Home
3545 N. Bendix Dr.
South Bend, IN 46628

Mass of Christian Burial
February 5, 2024

11:00 AM
Corpus Christi Catholic Church
2822 Corpus Christi Drive
South Bend, IN 46628


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