Jimmy F. Stritzke (Jim), longtime resident of Stillwater,. and Lake City, Colo., died from complications associated with Alzheimer’s disease at 5:25 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2013.
Jim was born on Sept. 9, 1937, in a Nowata County farmhouse in Northeast Oklahoma. Son of Frank and Lena Stritzke, Jim grew up with his two brothers, John Stritzke and Elmer Eckel, on a 160-acre family farm where they raised cattle, sheep, swine, chickens and cultivated wheat, soybeans and hay. Starting his education in a rural one-room schoolhouse before moving into the Lenapah school system, Jim finished high school as the senior class president and an active member in the local 4-H program.
Jim became the first member of his family to attend college when he enrolled in Oklahoma State University. He successfully obtained a bachelor’s degree in agronomy at OSU in 1958. After being introduced to his future wife, Donna Marie Stewart by a childhood friend Jack Triplett, Jim and Donna were married on Sept. 9, 1959, in Virginia were Jim was serving in the U.S. Army. Jim and Donna returned to Stillwater where he obtained a master’s degree in Agronomy. He subsequently obtained a doctorate in agronomy from the University of Missouri before returning to Oklahoma State University in 1969 to join the faculty as a professor in the College of Agriculture.
Jim’s life was one of service to others. He dedicated his professional energies to agriculture and worked tirelessly to find ways for the people he served to improve their own lives. He was admired and respected by his fellow faculty members, not only at Oklahoma State University but also by those he worked with throughout the country.
Among his most important contributions was the pioneering work he did on chemical brush control in the rough, rolling hills of southeast Oklahoma. His efforts there were widely acknowledged as he found and shared practical solutions for the enormous challenges faced by agricultural producers.
Nowhere was his positive influence felt more than by his students. He threw himself wholeheartedly into anything he did and those who were audacious enough to follow him into the field would find themselves challenged both mentally and physically. His work ethic, integrity, and example inspired his students. All who worked with him became lifelong, loyal friends.
The Colorado mountains had a special place in Jim’s life. He enjoyed camping, snow skiing and hunting. Elk hunting each fall with friends and family was always an anticipated highlight. Surrounded by mountains, Lake City, Colo., became a second home to Jim and Donna serving as a place to share life with good friends.
Jim Stritzke was preceded in death by his parents and brother, John Stritzke. He is survived by his wife and friend of 53 years, Donna Stritzke; his brother Elmer Eckel; his son Jerry Stritzke and daughter-in-law Edith Stritzke; his daughter Sheila Mackey and son-in-law Frank Mackey; grandchildren Katherine Simons, Laura Nielsen, Jacob Stritzke, Annette Mackey and Bryce Mackey; great-grandchild Leo Nielsen.
A memorial service will take place at the First Christian Church, 411 W. Mathews Ave., Stillwater, at 1 p.m. Friday with a reception following. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to the Dr. Jimmy F. Stritzke Memorial Fund at Oklahoma State University. Checks can be made payable to and mailed to the OSU Foundation, P.O. Box 1749, Stillwater, OK 74076.