Walter Fred Strobel
Walt passed away on August 9, 2021, after a long struggle with Parkinson's Disease. He was a loving husband, doting father, gifted electrician, and an extraordinary practical problem-solver.
Born in Good Thunder, Minnesota on January 25, 1932, to Anne and Herbert Strobel, Walt was the youngest of four children. His family moved to Oregon while Walt was in grade school. They eventually settled near Estacada and Walt graduated from Estacada Union High School in 1950. He enlisted in the Coast Guard and was primarily stationed at Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, Washington.
While serving in the Coast Guard, he married the love of his life, Irene Phillips, in 1954. They were uncommonly devoted to one another all their lives. They loved nothing more than simply being together, each of them always prioritizing the other and putting the other person's needs above their own. They wanted nothing more than to be great parents, yet they always made time for having fun together and enjoying life's simple pleasures with one another.
Early in their marriage, Walt entered an apprenticeship program to become an electrician. His profession suited him perfectly. He never tired of the challenges that the job presented. He enjoyed working on small residential projects as well as large commercial ones, whether the projects were with existing or new construction. He was known for his quick, precise work and for his tidiness. He eventually did electrical work almost exclusively for US Bank in Oregon and enjoyed traveling the state to work at various branches of the bank. Being especially humble, Walt did not enjoy public accolades or special attention for his outstanding work, but he was legendary amongst Portland-area electricians and long after his retirement, he was remembered by many in his field as "a remarkable electrician."
Upon completion of a project, he had his own little cartoon-like icon that he would draw and leave in an inconspicuous place like inside a wall, on a fitting, or in a secret place where future workers or homeowners might surprisingly find it years later. The cartoon was a simple drawing of a man who had only one squiggly hair on top of his head, and he would sometimes draw the little cartoon man on greeting cards or notes to family members. It was his way of saying, "Walt was here."
Walt's greatest joy came from spending time with his family and helping them with wiring, building, maintaining, and improving their homes. He had an extraordinary gift for working with his head and his hands and solving practical, everyday problems with solutions that were elegant in their simplicity. He was a quick worker, meticulous in the execution of his work, and he never cut corners. Because of Walt's significant mechanical abilities, and because he held very high standards and he enjoyed working with his hands, in his and Irene's home, every system, appliance, machine, and gadget was always in perfect working order. As Walt's children entered adulthood, he saw it as his mission to keep his children's homes in great working order, as well. Keith and Janice lived locally, so he assisted them regularly. However, Kevin lived nearly 2,000 miles away, and packing up his tools to drive to Kevin's home in Iowa was not an imposition, but rather, a joy for Walt. He made sure the family members each had a safe electrical panel, automatic lighting in their closets, perfectly working appliances, lighting in their crawl spaces, and many other features that he deemed essential. Additionally, he added many non-electrical details to each of the family members' homes.
Walt loved adventure. He bought snowmobiles for the entire family and enjoyed taking day trips into the backcountry. In their retirement years, Walt and Irene greatly enjoyed spending time traveling in their RV, spending time at their place at the beach, visiting Iowa, exploring national parks, and spending winters in Arizona. Whether snowmobiling or RV'ing, Walt was always prepared for an emergency. He took seriously the maintenance and upkeep of his beloved Dodge pick-ups, RV's, and snowmobiles. He embraced life and enjoyed finding the best local milkshakes and burgers as they traveled. Sitting still was not an activity of Walt's choosing.
Walt had a tender heart and a very quiet demeanor. Even though he was a man of few words, he expressed his love of Irene and their family through his many good works and interminable devotion to their comfort and needs.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Irene Strobel, of Canby, Oregon. He leaves behind his son, Keith Strobel of Milwaukie, Oregon, daughter and son-in-law Jan and Tim Rippey of Tualatin, Oregon, and son and daughter-in-law Kevin and Shannon Strobel of Center Point, Iowa. He was proud of his six grandchildren: Shane Strobel of Milwaukie, Oregon, Aimee Strobel of Washougal, Washington, Eric Rippey of Ocean Shores, Washington, Valerie Rippey of Lake Oswego, Oregon, Martin Strobel and wife Jess Drobot-Strobel of Sammamish, Washington, and James Strobel of Ames, Iowa. He also leaves three great-grandchildren: Markus Johnson of Montclair, New Jersey, Maloree Strobel of Washougal, Washington, and Charlie LaPine-Strobel of Milwaukie, Oregon.
A private family service will be held for Walt on August 19, 2021, at Lincoln Memorial Park and Mausoleum in Portland, Oregon. Please sign Walt's guest book at https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/portland-or/walter-strobel-10304438.
The family requests that remembrances may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.