Cremation Society of Illinois
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Stephen Stranahan

1934 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
Stephen Stranahan Obituary
Stephen Stranahan

Stephen Stranahan, a lifelong resident of Perrysburg, Ohio, died on January 7th, 2019, at the Admiral at the Lake, a Kendal continuing care retirement community in Chicago, Illinois. He and his wife, Ann, had moved to the Admiral in 2017.

Stephen was born on May 3rd, 1934, to Virginia Secor Stranahan and Duane Stranahan. His parents represented two distinguished Toledo families, one old, one new: As warehousers and bankers since the mid-19th century, the Secors had been central to Toledo's emergence as a major Midwestern transportation hub. The Stranahans were newly arrived industrialists: Duane's father and uncle, Frank and Robert, founded Champion Spark Plug in Boston in 1905, and moved the company to Toledo in 1910. Both families were enlightened, generous community leaders who helped establish the cultural and social service institutions that still distinguish Northwest Ohio. Steve's grandmother, Marie Celeste Stranahan, had toured as a light opera singer, and was a founder of The Toledo Symphony Orchestra. His mother, Virginia Secor, was an outspoken, unconventional, life-long learner, conservationist and philanthropist. Both families assumed that it was their duty to make their world a better place.

Steve's entire life was informed by this legacy of success and service. His was a richly interesting journey, highlighted by intricate, creative business endeavors and by strategic, meticulously planned and faithfully executed assistance to the nonprofit institutions and communities in which he lived. The weight of this business diligence and civic commitment was tempered by his real delight in a successful entrepreneurial outcome, or by the preservation from development of yet more acres of Ohio farmland or western ranchland, or by a perfectly executed Toledo Symphony Orchestra performance, the horns coming in at exactly the right moment.

He served as a board member, board chairman, or advisor to the Toledo Symphony, The University of Toledo, The Downtown Toledo Associates, The Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce, Riverview One,The Black Swamp Conservancy, The American Farmland Trust, The Colorado Cattlemen's Land Alliance, The Downtown Toledo Associates, The Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce, Adopt America, the Toledo Small Business Assistance Corp, Harambee, H.O.P.E., Toledo Fair Housing, YPO, The 577 Foundation, Maumee Valley Country Day School, The Commission on Public School Policies in Toledo, The Greater Toledo Corporation, The Stranahan Foundation, and WGTE Public Media.

His business affiliations were Bay Controls, Inc., The Sand Mountain Cattle Company, National Flight Services, Champion Spark Plug Company, Solar Cells, Inc, Questor, Fifth Third Bancorp, and Toledo Trans-kit, Inc. Entelco, his business holding company, included Webstrand, Andover Controls Corp (NASDAQ) and Crafthouse (NASDAQ), and includes real estate holdings in Arrowhead, Maumee, The Home Ranch Company, and The Clark Store.

The most visible and widely known of these enterprises is The Home Ranch, a Relais&Chateaux dude ranch and nordic resort in the Elk River Valley, north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, that he and Ann built in 1980, believing that a dude ranch vacation is a perfect family experience. Here is one of Steve's greatest legacies: land that will never be developed. In partnership with neighboring ranchers, he placed thousands of acres of land into conservation easement, to preserve the great landscapes and ranching tradition of the American West. This effort has led to many thousands more acres being preserved in the Elk River Valley, down to Steamboat Springs, and beyond.

Towering over the all of it — enterprise, due diligence, and philanthropy — was Steve's love for his family. He interacted with each child, niece, nephew, and grandchild with tenderness and respect. He taught them to ski in Colorado, took them on pack trips, taught them to fly fish on Michigan's Au Sable River and to sail on the Maumee, traveled with them to Greece, Africa, Egypt, Colorado, Scandinavia, Russia, and the Virgin Islands. He loved watching them spread their wings, and supported their own ventures with lively interest, counsel if requested, and generosity.

He was an introvert by nature. He had a dry, irresistible wit. He played ravishingly beautiful improvised melodies on his grandmother's piano. He was true to his nature and could not be budged into a different persona. The nursing team on the Memory Floor of the Admiral knew him the best: "Stephen is a good man," they would say, repeatedly. "Stephen is a Gentleman."

Steve attended Maumee Valley Country Day School and graduated from Brooks School in North Andover, MA, and from Dartmouth College, Class of 1957.

He is survived by his wife, Ann Anderson Stranahan, whom he married in 1958; and by their four children and spouses: Frances Stranahan and Scott Parry of Monclova, Stephen "Josh" and Keely Stranahan of Port Townsend, WA, Abbot Stranahan and David Ward, of Providence, R.I, Daniel and Nina Ginatta Stranahan, of Chicago; eight grandchildren; one great-grandchild; brothers, Duane "Pat" Stranahan, George Stranahan, Michael Stranahan; sister, Mary Stranahan, and his brother and sister-in-law, Samuel Armistead and Alice Anderson. A younger sister, Virginia Stranahan Linder, died in 1993.

Services will be in Toledo, Ohio and Clark, Colorado, and will be announced when arrangements are complete. Memorial contributions may be sent to Maumee Valley Country Day School, The Toledo Symphony Orchestra, The North Routt County Charter School in Clark, Colorado, or to the . Arrangements are being handled by The Cremation Society of Illinois.

Published in The Blade from Jan. 13 to Jan. 14, 2019
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