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Donald R. Strode

March 27, 2013
Donald R. Strode
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Obituary for Donald R. Strode

DUNLAP - Donald R. Strode, 85, of rural Dunlap, died on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, at Heritage Health Therapy and Senior Care Center, Chillicothe, where he had been the past four months due to dementia and multiple myeloma. He was born to Marvin and Delma Strode at home near Vermont, IL, and grew up on a farm with his parents, four brothers, and three sisters. Don always wanted to be a sailor, a policeman, and a farmer, and he was able to do all three. He joined the U.S. Navy right out of high school and served aboard the USS Enterprise (CV-6) in 1945 and 1946. He re-enlisted in 1949 and was assigned to the pre-commissioning detail of the USS Salem (CA-139), of which he was a plank owner. He served on the Salem until he left military service in 1953. In 1955, he graduated from the Illinois State Police Academy and was assigned to live in Dunlap and work in State Police District 8, which he did until his retirement at the end of 1984 with the rank of Master Sergeant. He coordinated the area police forces with the Secret Service when presidential trips came to Peoria and, during that time, met five Presidents and several presidential candidates. The reason Don became a policeman (and the favorite part of his job) was to patrol the roads and help people who ran out of gas, had a flat tire, or needed help of any kind. Having worked on the family farm as a boy and helped other farmers in his free time, Don loved farming. So in 1974, he and his wife began their own small farming operation and continued to do so until his health forced him to retire from farming in 2008. Don and MaryEllen were married in 1958. She survives him, as does their son, Doug; his wife, Kari; and their daughter, Andie, all of Newport Beach, CA. Their younger son, Gregg, died in 2006; but his son, Ethan Donald Strode, formerly of Macomb, now living in Addison, TX, has helped fill the void. Other survivors include his sister, Wandalee Shields of Vermont, IL; brothers, Bernard (wife Janis) of Mexico, MO and Max (wife Shirley) of Bradford; and sister-in-law, Dorla Strode of Glenwood Springs, CO. In addition to his son, Gregg, Don’s deceased family members include his parents; brothers, Eldon and Dayton; sisters, Ilene Taylor Burge Purdy and Wilma Worsdell; and brothers-in-law, Loren Worsdell and Willard Shields. Don was a continuous member of the American Legion for 65 years, first at American Legion Post #26 in Vermont, IL, and then at American Legion Post #1078 in Dunlap. He was a member of the USS Salem Association, USS Enterprise Assn., U.S. Navy Cruisers Assn., Illinois Police Assn., Fraternal Order of Police, and the Peoria County Farm Bureau for over 50 years. Don was a St. Louis Cardinal fan. He grew up listening to ball games on the radio and as an adult he attended many games, including almost twenty World Series. Visitation will be from 1-2:30 p.m. on Monday, April 1, 2013, at Resurrection Mausoleum, 7519 N. Allen Road, Peoria. A funeral service conducted by Father Terry Cassidy, chaplain for the Illinois State Police, will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the mausoleum. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Central Illinois Chapter, Alzheimer’s Assn., 606 W. Glen Avenue, Peoria, IL 61614.


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