Akron - Bob Streharsky died in Christian faith in Akron, Ohio on December 22, 2020 of the COVID-19 virus. He was 78. He leaves his wife Charmaine (nee Judy); son Robert Michael Streharsky and daughter-in-law Ann (nee Kopnicky) of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; daughter Karla Kathleen Streharsky of Munroe Falls; brother Steve Streharsky, Sr. and sister Elizabeth Streharsky Irwin of Stow; and many beloved nieces, nephews and in-laws. He was preceded in death by his parents Martin and Anna (nee Tancik) Streharsky, who courageously emigrated to the USA from Yugoslavia, as well as his brothers Martin, Paul, John and Michael Streharsky and sisters Anne Diak Brajer and Eva Clippinger. As Bob's father passed away when Bob was 5 and his beloved mother when he was 24, his wife's parents Ervin Michael Judy and Ila Bumgardner Judy then acted as his loving parents as well.
Bob was born on April 20, 1942 in Robertsdale (Huntingdon County), Pennsylvania on his mother's birthday. His mother and brothers relocated to Akron, Ohio, where his parents had lived decades before, in 1959 when Bob was a senior at Robertsdale High School in Pennsylvania. Bob graduated from South High School in Akron in 1960. Years later the Robertsdale High School alumni in Pennsylvania made him an honored alumnus of their 1960 class, as he maintained ties all his years with his beloved hometown and the Broad Top area through attendance at reunions and making contributions. Bob, known by old-timers there as "Shoetack," donated funds, goods, and efforts to the East Broad Top Railroad, the Fire Hall, and the Historical Miner's Museum in Robertsdale among others. Bob was nicknamed Shoetack there as his deceased father Martin had been the town's shoemaker as well as a coal miner.
Bob's family joked that he closed more workplaces in Akron than anyone else in town. Over the years he worked variously in his youth as a grill cook at Tippy's Drive-In, a landscaper, sales clerk, and deliveryman; then later as a stockroom manager and lithographer for Addressograph-Multigraph for 13 years; at Goodyear Tire building conveyor belts; at General Tire building tires; at The University of Akron as a plasterer and painter; and then for his last 20 years or so at Ohio Edison/FirstEnergy as a meter reader/collector. He took early retirement from FirstEnergy in 2001.
Bob could build or fix almost anything. He was a skilled carpenter and had mad skills as a jack-of-all-trades. He loved to make things - from cabinets and cedar chests to bird feeders and wind chimes - and throughout his life he was a most willing worker and helper to family, friends, neighbors, and on occasion just acquaintances, to help with their projects. He had amazing stamina. An extreme extrovert, Bob never met a stranger—even those who wanted to hide. But most joined in his enthusiastic conversations resulting in more ties with many folks.
Bob had many hobbies including collecting tools, tools, more tools, antiques and collectibles, and hundreds of music albums. He was excited that interest in vinyl is back, although he liked the crisp sound of CDs also. He enjoyed traveling and hiking, shopping at estate and garage sales, feeding all the backyard wildlife, and taking photographs. He was keen about nature photography, but he also liked taking photos linked to area events such as appearances of the Budweiser Clydesdales, making of the Soap Box Derby movie 25Hill, many Goodyear blimp exhibitions, constructions and demolitions, and various Munroe Falls events and fundraisers, especially for the MF Police and Fire/EMS departments. He liked to photograph people and scenes in local businesses he frequented over the years, and to give the photos or memorabilia he ran across for the owners to post. Some of these included Bob's Hamburger in Kenmore, The Peanut Shoppe in downtown Akron, and The Tip Top restaurant in Stow.
Family reunions, bonfires, and holiday gatherings were favorites for Bob. Whether it was in the old days roasting a pig on a spit at his eldest brother's place - or later cookouts or big Streharsky picnics – or the annual Bumgardner (his in-laws) reunions in West Virginia, Bob volunteered to be a photographer. He also was often the last to leave. He loved spending time with family and his in-laws, friends and neighbors.
Toddlers and dogs typically were very fond of Bob. For little ones he loved to make them laugh with bird whistles and imitations of Donald Duck and other cartoon characters. At the family reunions, for years he entertained small kids with a large goofy puppet named Fuzzy Face. Our family dogs and all others seemed to love him at first sight. He kept dog biscuits in the garage to give to canine friends walking by, and he had the lowest number of dog bites among any of the Ohio Edison meter readers! He usually talked guard dogs into a scratch behind the ears before he left.
Bob took a few classes at The University of Akron. He took welding and machining classes, and geology workshops as geology was of special interest to him. He said he quit when he was ahead with his perfect 4.0 GPA. While he was healthy he was able to take multiple trips down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and to Hawaii with Akron U. groups, explore Alaska on two big trips, and visit his Slovak/Aussie Tancik cousins, whom he had never met before, as well as participate in an Elderhostel trip through Australia.
Bob was a complicated man. His goods and bads were extremes. He was baptized Lutheran and was a long-time member of St. John-St. Paul Lutheran Church in Akron until its closing, and he became a more recent member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Cuyahoga Falls. He wanted his children to be raised in church, although he was never very comfortable there himself. He tended to be an Easter and Christmas church attendee. For many years he told his wife sincerely that he did not believe God would forgive sins as dark as his. But he did come later to believe that with his true repentance came God's forgiveness and grace through Jesus. He loved hymns, with his favorites being "Just As I Am" and "Amazing Grace." He cared about his fellow man. For decades, when he was able, he cleared snow from many driveways and all the sidewalks on the street so the schoolkids could navigate them. He gave advice – sought or unsought – loaned tools and gave willing sweat and elbow grease to help family, friends and neighbors. He truly aimed to love his neighbor as himself. In recent years since he became ill, his near neighbors have returned the favors to him and Charmaine.
No father was prouder of his children than Bob was. Those of you who knew him know that is true. Bob and his wife Charmaine were married for 56 years – or rather 24 years plus 32 years as they were divorced in 1988 for 6 months and then remarried each other within the same year. Bob used to tell folks now and then that he had two children and two stepchildren, and his wife had two children and two stepchildren, multiplying just two into 6 or 8 depending how you count. Telling jokes was another favorite hobby of his and for years his favorite presents were trivia and joke books – along with all those tools.
Sadly in 2015 Bob was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. In 2015 and again in 2016 he battled his way into remissions at Akron General Medical Center, but they did not last. His sense of humor carried him through a lot. When they said he had A positive blood he insisted that they refer to his blood as A plus. He received a bone marrow transplant at Cleveland Clinic in February 2017 which bought some more good time for him, for which we thank his generous donor who contributed via BeTheMatch.org.
Unfortunately, Bob developed almost every graft vs. host complication, although that did not always stop him from doing things he shouldn't have. More sadly in fall 2019 he was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, which brought frequent hallucinations and physical weakness. He was hospitalized a few weeks ago, then transferred for physical therapy where he contracted the COVID-19 virus for which he had no strength left to battle. He was as courageous and optimistic as anyone could possibly be throughout everything he suffered over these last five years.
In love and concern for all family and friends, there will be no funeral nor memorial service in light of this terrible 2020 viral pandemic. A private graveside service with immediate family only will be held when possible at Greenlawn Cemetery, Section M, in Akron with Pastor Jim Steingass officiating. All are invited to leave messages as desired on Bob's obituary pages (either on ohio.com or at redmonfuneralhome.com.) With no memorial service planned, his wife and children chose to give Bob this book-length obituary celebrating his life, so thanks to those of you who read it.
In lieu of flowers or other remembrances, Bob's wife and children ask that anyone who wishes to make a gift do so directly to an individual they know in need or a charitable organization, with a mention to the recipient that it is in memory of Bob Streharsky. We are sure Bob would have liked that. Charmaine, Karla, and son Bob and daughter-in-law Ann would like to thank especially Dr. Betty Hamilton of Cleveland Clinic; Dr. Laurie Matt-Amaral of AGMC; Dr. Gayleen Kolaczewski of Munroe Falls; Chief Lee Chafin and the EMS crew of Munroe Falls; and all of the doctors, nurses, and assistants at the hospitals and AlterCare, who all gave him such compassionate care over these last years in particular. May God bless Bob, and also all of the courageous and caring health care providers as the world fights this dreadful pandemic. (REDMON,STOW,330-688-6631)
Posted online on January 03, 2021