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Duane Stranahan

Duane "Pat" Stranahan Jr.

Sunday, March 9th, 1930 - Thursday, February 25th, 2021
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Obituary

How to find words that can begin to describe a life as big and full and grand as the life of Duane Stranahan? Well, we’ll give it a try. Born on March 9, 1930, Duane (Pat) Stranahan grew up in Perrysburg, OH, on what we’ll fondly call the family farm—now known as the 577 Foundation. In many ways, the qualities and goals that would shape his life grew from that space. There, with his five siblings, Pat learned the value of curiosity and exploration and developed a profound appreciation for education and the outdoors. Whether applied to his deep-seated love for--and loyalty to--his family and friends, his life as a businessman and community advocate, or the grace he brought to his life-long love of tennis, fly-fishing, skiing, aviation, and more, those values were the compass points that mapped the progress of his life.

Pat attended Maumee Valley Country Day School, The Phillips Exeter Academy, Princeton, and The University of Toledo. While in Toledo, he married his first wife, Elizabeth Bentley. The two of them moved to Bronxville, NY, where Pat earned his Masters at Columbia, studying French and English Literature. From there, he returned to Toledo and began his career working with Champion Spark Plug—a company founded by his grandfather of which he was immensely proud. But life and the world intervened. He was stationed in Tokyo, where he served in the Counterintelligence Corps during the Korean War. Returning home with his wife and growing family, Pat began to shape the ethos that would guide his future. His experiences steered him toward a life containing something larger than self: a life beyond the individual. Seeking that greater goal, Pat was accepted into the University of Michigan Law school, earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence, and embarked on his career at Marshall, Melhorn, Bloch, and Belt.

During his years practicing law in Toledo, Pat continued to follow his guide-stars of exploration and curiosity. Deeply committed to his community, he became an advocate and mentor of all things Toledo. He served as a trustee, and later as President of the Board for the Toledo Museum of Art, an organization he supported throughout his life. He worked with The United Way, The Toledo Community Foundation, and ProMedica--among many others. And he began his work with The Stranahan Foundation, a labor of love that would keep him engaged and active in his community for many years to come. Any one of these accomplishments might constitute a well-lived life. But, true to his nature, Pat continued to expand his interest as both a businessman and philanthropist.

In 1975, Pat married Cecily Stoddard. Never one to rest on his laurels, he was active in downtown development, working with the Port Authority, serving as the Director of Trustcorp, Inc., and, together with some of his long-time friends, helping to found and launch the Trust Company of Toledo. While his list of community commitments grew ever longer, he always found time for friends and family. Whether on the tennis courts, fly-fishing or in his deep love of aviation, Pat used his avocations to stay connected. Flying his childhood buddies off for fishing junkets—and fishy stories—helping to promote tennis, education, and a spirit of giving back, Pat shared his passions with family and friends.

In 1982, Pat married Robin Wilson, a partnership that would sustain him throughout the rest of his life. Together, they moved to Naples, FL, where they raised their daughter, Katherine Boone Stranahan. His change in geography did nothing to lessen Pat’s drive and commitment. While he remained active and engaged in the Toledo area, he continued to expand his scope of interests, involving himself in a variety of ventures: oil, coal and gas, a publishing group that yielded a textbook on US History and The Journal of Military History, and, no surprise, the Community School of Naples, where he served both as a trustee and president of the Board. Together with Robin, he found new avenues for giving. The two were deeply involved with Hillsdale College of Michigan, the Nature Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the David Lawrence Center, the Collier County Community Foundation, Naples Community Hospital, The Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, and the Heritage Foundation. Throughout his many transformations, however, he never lost his love for tennis, fly-fishing on the Au Sable, aviation, and, most deeply, his family and friends.

Pat was graced with friends through every chapter of his life. While he never lost his connection to a tight-knit group of childhood friends, there was always room for more. Whether on the tennis court, in a business meeting, or board room, Pat’s years in Florida added many dear and supportive friends to his list. His ability to find an interest in every encounter ensured that new acquaintances soon felt like old pals.

Underlying all his years of community engagement and business ventures, there flowed a constant affection for, and loyalty to, his family. Whether giving advice to a grandchild, mentoring and supporting his own children, or in his connection to his siblings, Pat prided himself on his position of elder statesman of the family. As part of his legacy, he left a set of footprints to guide his heirs--sometimes gently, sometimes with a bit more determination--to seek the bigger self.

And lest his accomplishments suggest an aura of too much gravitas, let it be noted that Pat could—and did—tell a wicked joke. While his tales were long and oft-times told, they never failed to bring a smile to all who listened. His humor and joy in camaraderie made being his presence a true delight.

Pat passed away February 25, in Avow Hospice of Naples, FL. He is survived by his wife Robin, and his children Duane Stranahan and Favorite-daughter-in-law, Stephanie, Sarah Stranahan, Page Armstrong, and Katie Russo and her husband Wyatt. His grandchildren, James and Nell Stranahan, Sebastian, Gabriel and Patrick Stranahan, and Maxim and Benjamin Elrod will miss their grandfather—although not necessarily his jokes. Also surviving are his younger siblings, George Stranahan and his wife, Patti, Michael Stranahan, and Mary Stranahan. While Pat’s younger brother Stephen passed away in 2019, he was a life-long partner in business and general fun; his wife Ann, remains an integral part of the family. Pat’s youngest sister, Virginia (Dinny) Stranahan Linder, passed away in 1993.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to either The Collier County Community Foundation of Naples, Florida or to the Toledo Community Foundation of Toledo, OH.
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