Legacy of William G. Stroecker of Fairbanks, Alaska
WILLIAM GEORGE STROECKER 1920-2010
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Born in Fairbanks on July 31, 1920, Stroecker had the rare distinction of never calling anywhere else home, leaving Fairbanks only in 1938 to attend New Mexico Military Institute and then again near the end of World War II when stationed in the Army at Grande Prairie, Canada as part of the Lend-Lease Program.
Following the war, the son and grandson of pioneer Alaskan families, became bookkeeper at First National Bank. He succeeded his brother, Ed, as president in 1967, remaining in that position until the bank was sold in 1978. Bill continued to serve as vice president of public relations at the First National successor, Key Bank, until entering the hospital. Over all the years Bill was a familiar sight to Fairbanksians trudging to and from work in his long raccoon coat and hat.
Charming to the core, the rugged Stroecker enjoyed a wide-range of activities. His musical talents are legend as he played his trumpet at local dances and functions. He played regularly in recent years with a jazz band known as the Frigid-Aires. His interest in music, particularly jazz, ran deep and he spent many relaxing hours listening to the works of great artists.
Bill took particular interest in The Salvation Army and the Alaska Goldpanners baseball team. He was a hard-working contributor to both. He is the only “life” member of the Fairbanks Salvation Army Board.
His tenure with the Goldpanners began in 1962 and for 50 seasons he contributed much time and energy. Remarkably, he served the last 46 years as president of the board of directors, winning successive one-year terms.
The list of his civic undertakings is long. They include: Greater Fairbanks Hospital Foundation; Friends of the University Museum; Fairbanks Rotary Club; State of Alaska Guide Board; Alaska Banker’s Association; Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce; Fairbanks Urban Beautification Commission; and numerous other advisory posts. Additionally he received top honors from virtually all of the organizations to which he served or belonged, including mention at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Bill joined Igloo No. 4, Pioneers of Alaska, in 1951, earning life membership in 1976.
As public as his life was, Bill saved his most enjoyable times for himself and a few friends. An avid outdoorsman he spent literally every weekend soaking up the great outdoors whether it be boating, fishing, hunting, hiking or snowshoeing. Joining Bill on such adventures would be his prized Labrador retrievers. Racey was his faithful Lab companion at the time of his passing. Bill obtained his first black Lab in 1944 and over the next 65 years had one or more at all times. He took great pains in training the dogs and was active in Fairbanks Retriever Club trials over the years.
Another passion for Bill was Alaskana. He acquired a great collection of items and had a deep knowledge of the history of the state and the Fairbanks area in particular.
Bill’s grandfather, Charles N. Creamer, crossed the Chilkoot Trail in 1897. In what Bill considered one of his major accomplishments, he retraced his grandfather’s footsteps in 1997, at age 77, and some 100 years later. Bill never failed to get a twinkle in his eye when talking of his parents, grandparents and others of the pioneer times. Bill admitted to being joined to the past and liking it that way.” Published in Daily News-Miner on Nov. 11, 2010 – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsminer/obituary.aspx?n=william-george-stroecker-bill&pid=146552075#sthash.SrUY5Q0w.dpuf