Sunday, June 20, 2010


Father's Day is a good time to remember my dad, James Henry Streutker.  I started to just create a post about him in my Face Book status, then I decided what I had to say was too big for that; it a perfect topic for a blog.

My father had a great wit and taught me how to laugh; it is a gift that has carried me through hard times and enhances my life today.  He was a great jokester and story teller.   He loved the funny papers, especially Far Side.  I have a stack of cartoons he clipped out of the papers over the years that he had started putting in a scrapbook.  The project is still unfinished.

Dad was also a carpenter who built our home--I associate the scent of sawdust with him.  He patiently let little kids dog his steps while he was working and gave scraps of wood and used nails for our own creations.  Every Father's Day, he receive a fleet of homemade boats --pieces of two by fours with a point created by a handsaw and a mast inserted in a hole painstakingly made with a hand drill.

Dad on his way to school.
My grandfather--Henrick Streutker immigrated from Holland with his parents when he was four years old and settled on a farm in a  Dutch community on Whidbey Island WA.  Henry met Gertrude who had come from Winnipeg with her Dutch father, married her and together they settled on the Streutker family farm. 
Wedding Picture
During WWII the Streutkers moved to Bremerton where Grandpa opened a filling station and Dad went to work in the shipyard.  His vision was so poor they wouldn't let him fight in the military but they let him work on ships.  ;o)  Due the influx of workers in the Yard there was a housing shortage in Bremerton and my grandparents took in roomers, including the Kellogg family from Wisconsin-- who had a beautiful daughter, whom my dad fell in love with.

After the war my father worked in construction until he found a job at Sears in the automotive department where he worked for the next 33 years.  I have shiny trophies with angels on top that he earned for sales .  I put them in the garden.

Dad loved his son-in-law and they became great pals.  James actually got to do more with my dad than I did on visits.  They were like two outlaws trying to escape from their wives.

Daddy was an easy spirit who hated conflict, and would do everything to avoid it.  Over the years he deferred to my mother who had a lot of issues and she ruled the family with an iron hand.  Before his death, and after conversations with James, he realized the role he played in the family dysfunction by not standing up for his children; in a bold move, he held a family "intervention" on my mother's anger, even though he was very weak and short of breath.  This was an amazing day that all five kids got a chance to tell our mother how we felt and she had to listen, but it gave us all a great deal of peace about our childhoods and our Mom.  It gave us closure and Dad peacefully left us in three weeks later.

One of the jobs he held-- Sears or the shipyard contributed to his death because of the use of asbestos.  He died at age 76 from lung cancer.

There is so much more I could say about my father, but this is enough-- I am already crying.  I love you, Daddy and I miss you, and I am looking forward to seeing you in heaven.


  1. What a beautiful, loving tribute to your dad! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about him!

  2. He sounds like the kind of father we all wish we had.


  3. Your comments always mean a lot to me. It was a pleasure write about him.

  4. Such a delight to read ..."My father had a great wit and taught me how to laugh; it is a gift that has carried me through hard times and enhances my life today. He was a great jokester and story teller. He loved the funny papers, ..." daughters always have a spacial bonds with their father!! Thanks again Maxie