George Edward Strandtmann was born March 16, 1919 in Lockhart, Texas, the youngest child of Fritz and Josephine Strandtmann. He died March 20, 2017 in Austin, Texas, at the age of 98.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 72 years, Willie Mae. He is also preceded in death by his father, Fritz (who died four months prior to his birth); mother, Josephine; brothers, Eugene, Ernest, Bill, Phil, and Fritz; and sisters, Frances and Barbara.
He is survived by his daughter, Susan.
George was ten when the family moved to Austin. He became active in several youth organizations, including the Boy Scouts. He always felt that the knowledge and skills he gained through scouting served him well throughout his life.
George graduated from Austin High School in 1938 and went to work for the American National Bank. In October of 1940, he was mobilized into the U.S. Army with the 36th Division of the Texas National Guard.
In January of 1942, he married Willie Mae Moore. In May of that year, he was sent to Panama as a member of the 182nd Quartermaster Regiment. He was honorably discharged in 1945 and returned to Austin to enter UT on the GI Bill.
George felt very fortunate to have been able to attend UT and was the only member of his family to obtain a college degree. He graduated in 1950 with a BBA, having taken every accounting course offered at UT.
In 1951, he took a job with UT's fledgling Defense Research Laboratory (later renamed Applied Research Laboratories). He retired from the Lab as its business director in 1984.
George and Willie Mae adopted daughter Susan in 1955 and George immediately became the doting father. His devotion never wavered. He was always pleased to spend time with Susan, helping with homework, school projects, car repairs, and errands.
When George and Willie Mae built their dream home on Balcones Drive in 1959, George did much of the work himself, clearing the half-acre wooded lot, and gathering and cleaning old brick for the exterior of the house. He also became a journeyman electrician and wired the house himself.
George served on the board of directors of the Austin Symphony Orchestra for more than 40 years - as president in 1970 and as a member of the executive committee since 1971. He helped organize the Knights of the Symphony in 1966 and was pleased to serve as King Brio XXXVI in 2002. He enjoyed participating in the Symphony's annual phone-a-thons, and was always recognized as one of the Symphony's top fundraisers.
He enthusiastically contributed his time and energy to Willie Mae's many volunteer projects for the Women's Symphony League, the Texas Association of Symphony Organizations, and the Heritage Society of Austin.
He also participated in the Austin Men's Garden Club and served in a number of capacities, including president in 1994. He served as vice president of the Austin Area Garden Council in 1999.
He and Willie Mae were members of the Mayfair Dance Club from 1971 through 1982, and continued to enjoy ballroom dancing well into their 80's. In later years, they enjoyed playing bridge at the Austin Club once a month and in the homes of special friends several times a week.
As Willie Mae's health declined, George devoted his energies to becoming her primary caregiver. He took this responsibility very seriously and was meticulous with her many appointments, medications and daily routines. When it became necessary for Willie Mae to have skilled nursing care, George became a fixture at her care facility, sitting with her in the lobby every morning, making sure she ate her lunch, and tucking her in for her afternoon nap.
George's membership in St. Austin's Catholic Church held great meaning for him, throughout his life. During his early years, he served as an altar boy; in later years, his participation in the Church included administering Holy Communion to shut-ins. Toward the end of his life, he was grateful to receive Holy Communion regularly in his own home.
Graveside services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 24, 2017 at Austin Memorial Park, 2800 Hancock Dr.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Austin's Catholic Church, 2026 Guadalupe, 78705, in care of the George E. Strandtmann Memorial Fund.