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1931 Steven "Skip" Von Strohe 2023

Steven "Skip" Von Strohe

March 20, 1931 — October 9, 2023

Marquette, KS

Steven (Skip) Von Strohe passed away peacefully with family present at his home in Marquette, KS the morning of October 9, 2023. Steven was born on March 20, 1931, in Salina, KS, the first son of Louis (Bud) Von Strohe and Twila (Steel) Von Strohe. Steven’s younger brother, Jerry Stuart Von Strohe, was born in July of 1933 and died two years later in July of 1935 from pertussis. Shortly after his younger brother’s death, the family moved from Westfall, Kansas to Boulder, Colorado. Steven grew up in Boulder, Colorado, graduating from high school there. Steven then received a ROTC scholarship that he used at Colorado State University to become the first Von Strohe in the family to attend a university and then graduate from CSU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. The scholarship had a requirement that Steven would serve in a military branch of service for at least 4 years after his schooling was done. Steven chose the Air Force and was to report for pilot training in Albany, Georgia. In his senior year at CSU, Steven met a pretty brunette freshman from Denver, Colorado, Bettie Lu Stills.  They fell madly in love, and with Steven headed for the Air Force, they decided to elope on short notice and got married in Raton, New Mexico on March 25, 1954.

 

Steven reported for duty at Turner Air Force Base as a fully commissioned Lieutenant due to his college training with the ROTC and began his pilot training. He quickly moved from the prop trainer to jets and the T 33. As he was rapidly moving thru flight school, he was approached with an offer to fly bombers. With his shorter stature, he physically met the requirements for the bomber cockpit. He initially said no, but when he found out the bomber he would be training with and flying was the then top-secret Boeing B-47 Stratojet, he jumped at the chance. During the Georgia training, Steven’s first son, Scott, was born in Albany. The training with the bomber moved the family to Roswell, New Mexico where his second son, Steven, was born.  Steven moved from training to active duty in Roswell with his mission flying the B-47 bomber fully armed with a nuclear warhead in a holding pattern orbiting above the north pole area. His mission focus was to deliver the payload to the city known as Leningrad at the time. His 3 man crew flew 12 hour shifts always at the ready if the fateful call should come. Steven’s 4 years of service ended in 1958, and despite very generous offers from the Air Force, Skip (His nickname he got as the bomber pilot and commanding officer in the B-47) chose to return to civilian life and return to Denver, Colorado where his third son, Stanton, was born in 1958 and his fourth son, Spence, in 1961. Steven and Bettie moved to Dallas, Texas in 1979 after all the boys had finished high school.

 

Steven started a Medical Product Sales company in Dallas and when he retired at 65, he passed the business on to his sons. Bettie and Skip relocated to Hide Away, Texas and spent the early retirement years crossing the country in an RV with Hide Away as their base of operations. In 2004, Skip suffered a stroke and the focus moved for Bettie as she became his primary caregiver. Once Skip had rehabbed to the point where he was mobile again, they downsized the RV and with Bettie driving, resumed a limited travel schedule. After almost 57 years of marriage in February 2011, Bettie passed away after a yearlong bout with cancer, and Steven had lost the love of his life.  The boys sold the family company, and Stan moved to the old family stomping grounds in Kansas, settling in Marquette, where he bought a house for Dad to spend his final years. Well known around Marquette, Skip could be seen driving his scooter thru the streets and visiting with folks at the Smoky Valley Distillery. Until the end, Skip was loved by all. Known for his love of teaching in his early years and his prolific painting in his later years, Skip established a legacy that will carry far beyond his passing.

 

Steven (Skip) Von Strohe is survived by his 4 sons Scott, Steve, Stan, and Spence along with their families which include 11 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Skip was a blessing to us all, and we will always strive to follow his favorite saying “Let’s go to Mexico Dumbo!”

 

A “Celebration of Life” memorial is in the process of being planned for the Spring of 2024. With this celebration, we will unite Bettie and Skip once again in their final resting place at the Franklin Cemetery in Tescott, Kansas. More information on the specifics of this event will be provided online at a later date.

 

Memorial donations can be made to Riverview Estates, Marquette, in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Steven "Skip" Von Strohe, please visit our flower store.

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