John Strotkamp (Johnny), who was 100 years old, passed away peacefully of natural causes at his Laguna Beach home on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016.
John was born in Alameda, Calif., on Oct. 3, 1915, the only child of Johan Heinrick Strotkamp and Emelia J. Vanselow.
In his younger years, he worked in his father’s stores in the German section of Oakland. John’s favorite sport was baseball and he excelled as a pitcher with the nickname “Lefty.” John’s high school team won the state championship, and after high school he played semi-pro ball.
After graduating from high school while working for Sears, Strotkamp met his future wife Roberta (Bobbie), who was working for Wards. The couple married on April 16, 1939, in Oakland.
In 1943, with World War II active, Strotkamp was not satisfied just to build troopships, so he enlisted in the U.S. Army infantry. He was with the first group of Army infantry troops to land in Japan right after the atomic bombs were dropped.
Upon his discharge from the U.S. Army, he returned to his wife, two young boys and settled into married life in Oakland, buying a home that he and his wife remodeled.
Once his two sons were in elementary school, John and his wife Bobbie became very involved in scouting, with Strotkamp being a cubmaster and his wife a den leader. Strotkamp earned achievement awards for his leadership in the scouts. However, they ended their activity in scouting when they relocated to Laguna Beach in 1953.
Before moving to Laguna, Strotkamp and his uncle operated a successful landscape company. However the opportunity to run and operate a pottery shop brought Strotkamp and family to Laguna Beach.
Years later, Strotkamp changed occupational directions and went to work for Sears as a department manager. He remained with Sears until he retired at the age of 65.
In the late ‘50s, Strotkamp served on the Laguna Beach Planning Commission, a position he enjoyed.
Once his sons were in junior high, Strotkamp returned to one of his true loves, baseball, and begin coaching Little League. He continued to coach Little League into his 80s.
Strotkamp’s wife, Bobbie, preceded him in death in 2002. He is survived by his two sons, John “Jay” (Mary Linda) and Tom Strotkamp (Pam Nelson); five grandchildren, Dr. Jon Strotkamp, Tanya Sassack, Carrie Cristobal, Kim Strotkamp and Major Tim Strotkamp (U.S. Air Force); and five great-grandchildren, Rebekah, Gabrielle, Seth, Qori and Nichole.
Strotkamp loved his family, sports (particularly baseball), and his longtime hometown of Laguna Beach. He also enjoyed collecting stamps and coins.
His wish was to spend his final years in his Laguna Beach home, which he did, and it was there that he passed away peacefully.
A memorial service was held in his honor Saturday, Jan. 16, at McCormick & Sons Mortuary, 1795 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, California. Interment with military honors followed at Pacific View Cemetery in Corona Del Mar.