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J. Dietrich Stroeh


1936 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
J. Dietrich Stroeh Age 80, passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 31, 2017. He was born on October 22, 1936, in Pasadena, California, and moved to Novato when he was 4 years old. He was a first generation American, son of immigrants, Tyyne Laaperi from Finland, and Otto Stroeh from Germany. Dietrich went to the old Grant Elementary School, then on to Marion, where his three daughters attended later. He then graduated from San Rafael HS, College of Marin, and earned an engineering degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. Post university, he was in the US Air Force Reserves based at Hamilton Field. An engineer by trade, Dietrich was also a beloved civic leader. From 1974 to 1980 he was the General Manager of the Marin Municipal Water District. He was instrumental in solving Northern California's water crisis by putting a pipeline across the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge. A book entitled, "The Man Who Made it Rain", described his experience with California's drought of 1976 and the leadership he provided during that time. Dietrich co-founded, with his dear friend John Stuber, Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group, later merging with CSW. He ran this business from 1980 until this last Spring with the help of their third partner, Al Cornwell. Dietrich touched many people's lives through his work in the North Bay community. As a community builder and leader, he had a strong and influential voice, while also being a man of action. He was involved in numerous organizations and boards. Currently President of the Golden Gate Bridge District, the California Earthquake Authority, the Downtown Novato Theater, the North Coast Railroad Authority, the Novato Community Garden, Marin County Flood Control District, and Fire Protection Board. Past director of Bank of Marin, Bay Area Water Works Association, the Novato Chamber of Commerce, the Conservation Corps North Bay. Marin's top 13 most influential citizen, 2007. Novato Citizen of the Year, 1992, and numerous other awards. He was an avid reader, gardener, woodworker, and world traveler. His other passions included antique cars, the SF 49ers, The Minions, Judge Judy, classic films, and the oreo cookies in the trunk of his car that his wife forebade him to eat. He was as comfortable in a three piece suit as he was in his flannel shirt and holey jeans. Registered as a Republican, but a true progressive at heart, Dietrich always found a way to pull all sides together, to create something of substance for the common good. He did this through humor, common sense, and perserverance. He never gave up. Dietrich Stroeh was beautifully imperfect. A real man. He was preceded in death by his parents, Tyyne and Otto Stroeh, his sisters, Martha Wells and Karen Galway, and his second wife, Margaret Bormann Stroeh. He is survived by his wife, Dawna Gallagher-Stroeh, his three daughters, Christina, (Brody) Stroeh, Jody (Mark) Hunter, Erica (Frankie) Antonio, his step-children, David and Dona Brown, and his first wife, Marcia McGillis. He is also survived by his six grandchildren, Tanner, Alex, Ben, Jaxon, Nate, and Landon, step-granddaughter Megan Brown, and his 5 nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by his four cats, Max, Champagne, Boo, Cassie. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Novato Theater at 936B Seventh St. #132, Novato CA 94945. It was his dream to see this project completed. A Celebration of Dietrich's life will be held on Tuesday June 27th, 2017 from 4:00-6:30pm at Pioneer Park in Novato. Shuttle services begin at 3:00pm from parking lots of Lady of Loretto school, and The Square shopping center on Novato Blvd. (Wilson St.).
Published in Marin Independent Journal from June 8 to June 18, 2017
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