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Joel Alden Streng


1944 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Joel Alden Streng Obituary
May 18, 1944 - September 1, 2015 Joel Alden Streng was born in Sterling, Illinois, the fourth child of Helen M. and the Rev. William D. Streng. Most of his childhood was spent in Dubuque Iowa, and he graduated from Dubuque Senior High School in 1962. Joel earned a scholarship to, and in 1966 graduated with a BA in biology from, Harvard College. The year following his graduation Joel met his future wife, Charlotte Brodhead, when they were working as researchers at the Harvard Medical School. They married two years later while Joel was attending the University of Cincinnati Medical School where he received his medical degree in 1971. Joel and Charlotte received a combined Smith Kline and French fellowship for a five-month tenure in pediatrics at St. Mary's Hospital in Gulu, Uganda, beginning a close tie with Africa that lasted more than four decades. After completing a pediatric infectious disease internship at LA County/USC Medical Center, he joined the United States Public Health Service, National Health Service Corps for a two-year stint during which he established and worked in a medical clinic in McCormick, South Carolina. Joel began his private infectious disease and pediatrics practice in the San Gabriel Valley in 1977. While he was on staff at the Arcadia Methodist and Queen of the Valley Hospitals (where he chaired their infection control committees for more than three decades), he also consulted at several other hospitals in that area. Throughout his 38 years of practice, he served as a clinical professor of pediatrics and taught in the LA County/USC pediatrics program. Joel's contributions to the medical profession were widely recognized by his colleagues. In 1987, he was named the Alpha Omega Alpha Outstanding Clinical Professor of Pediatrics by the LA County/USC pediatrics program. In 2004, he was awarded the Order of Merit from the Alpha Auxiliary of the Methodist Hospital Foundation. This past July, Joel's colleagues at Methodist Hospital honored him with their Physician Lifetime Achievement Award. Despite the rigors of his professional practice, Joel made time to serve his community in other ways. He was an active member of the Lutheran Church of the Cross in Arcadia. As the descendant of seven generations of Lutheran pastors, he was a founding member of the board of trustees and served on the board of directors of the Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, where his father had been a member of the faculty Throughout Joel's career he took months-long sabbaticals and volunteered in hospitals in Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Republic of South Africa, and Tanzania-often accompanied by family members. His work as a physician, teacher, and mentor, and the friendships he made in far away places, had a profound and lasting impact on Joel, both personally and professionally. He delighted in sharing with family and friends about how locals who lived near the Selian Hospital in Tanzania where he volunteered would affectionately call out to him in Swahili as he jogged down a dusty road: "pole pole, baba" (slowly, slowly, old man). Joel's life focused on helping others no matter what their circumstances and he extended tremendous gratitude to those who loved, mentored and supported him. Joel's personal interests included reading (family and friends remember trips where he would bring stacks of unread magazines and newspapers). He loved to run, ski, and bike. His favorite personal travel involved camping, African safaris, and yearly Hawaiian vacations. Joel, who served as president of the Pasadena Wine and Food Society for four years, also enjoyed sharing wine and food and wine-focused travel with family and friends, including attending several international wine festivals . Joel's first love was his family. He was married to his wife Charlotte for 47 years. They had two children Lara Bussey and Matthew Streng of whom he was most proud. Joel was a beloved father-in-law to Keith Bussey and Claudia Streng. Joel thoroughly enjoyed his four grandchildren, Cameron and Sophia Bussey and Ema and Leo Streng. Joel is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren and older siblings William Streng, Mark Streng and Kristine Roe. A Memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, October 3, 2015, at Lutheran Church of the Cross, 66 W. Duarte Road, Arcadia, CA 91007. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Global Health Ministries: 7831 Hickory Street NE, Minneapolis, MN ( Selian Hospital, Tanzania). Lutheran World Relief: PO Box 17061, Baltimore, MD 21298-9832 Joel Streng African Scholarship Fund: c/o The University of Cincinnati Foundation, PO Box 19970, Cincinnati, OH 45219- 0970
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 19, 2015
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