Robert “Bob” J. Stricker, 86, passed away peacefully at his home on April 21, 2020 after a long illness, surrounded by his loved ones. One of seven children born to German and Russian immigrants, he was born on April 10, 1934 in Edgar, MT. In many ways, Bob’s life began when he met the love of his life while attending Fromberg High. It was love-at-first-sight for Robert Stricker and Barbara Jean Hogge, whose dancing made everyone stop and stare. After marrying on May 8, 1954, Bob & Barb began their life together in Billings, MT.
Bob then attended Billings Business College, earning his degree in Accounting. He was the Friday night bartender at the Labor Temple, where Ironworkers Local 708 would hold their union meetings. They often referred to him as “Cab Driver” as he would give rides home to the more impaired members. He later found his calling when he himself became a member as an iron and steel worker for Empire Steel. A hard-working father of five sons and four daughters, Bob’s children and grandchildren would remember him coming home with his metal lunchbox, arms often nicked or bandaged from welding. He continued as a steel worker until his retirement in 1997.
Bob, an avid hunter who passed his love of sportsmanship on to his family, loved fly fishing on the Stillwater. He appreciated all things outdoors – especially baseball. He played softball with the Ironworker Oldtimers, coached Boulder Avenue little league, and taught many of his kids to play catch, which will always be remembered. In his retirement he would enjoy visits with his family, attending MLB games in Colorado and Ohio with his sons and daughters. Bob’s team was the Dodgers, and he is likely at this moment reminiscing with their greats.
Because of Bob, nearly every Stricker kid and grandkid has a love for Pinochle. Bob also played Cribbage twice a week at the Senior Center. Besides card games, Bob loved reading, and solving puzzles. His family loved trying to beat him at Jeopardy and will miss their game and card nights, as Bob was mischievous and loved winning. He could always be counted on for ball games, graduations, weddings, and various family celebrations – because above all, Bob appreciated a good party. He loved dancing and singing, and was a member of a barbershop quartet.
A prostate cancer survivor, Bob was also proud of his faith. He was an active parishioner of St. Thomas the Apostle, gave back to his church and community as a charter member of the Knights of Columbus, and volunteered at St. Vincent DePaul in his retirement. His family is especially grateful to the nurses from St. John’s Hospice who cared for, watched over, and guided Bob into restful peace: Arlee, Tanya, Jenny, Felicia and Nicole. He loved them all.
Bob is survived by his wife and forever dance partner of nearly 66 years, Barbara, his nine children and his daughters- and sons-in-law: Charlotte Liggett, Jeff (Kathy), Gary (Darcy), Tim (Doris), Joe (Lisa), Dave (Sue), Debbie Carlin (Matt), Sandy McCullough (Joe), and Lisa Borsvold (Tim); his brother, Larry (Nema) of Mesquite, NV, and many nieces and nephews; his 23 grandchildren: Beth (Rick), Tony (Morgan), Mark (Nikki), Jake, Emily, Jared, Cooper, Connor, Joey (Brooke), Michael, Jeff, Jenny, Matt (Amanda), Jason, Darleen (Mike), Sierra (Jacob), Jessica, Blake, Darrius, Sam, Emary (Joshua), Lisa and Mandy. His 21 great- and one great-great-grandchildren will miss him dearly, especially when he would play them his harmonica.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, George and Elizabeth; brother Bud (Tiny), of Kennewick, WA, Andy (Kay) of Renton, WA, George (Gloria) of Gillette, WY, Jim (Lauretta) of Seattle, WA; and sisters Katy (Clyde Lehman) of Forsyth, MT and Marie (Henry Yonce) of Richland, WA.
A memorial mass will be held at 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday July 21 at St. Thomas The Apostle Catholic Church. Memorials may be made to either Billings Clinic or St. John’s Hospice.