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Published: Saturday, 8/28/2010

Connie Strawman, 1938-2010: Ex-New Riegel teacher led United Methodist Women

FOSTORIA - Connie Strawman, 72, who taught home economics and promoted vocational education during a quarter-century at New Riegel High School, died Thursday at home of pancreatic cancer. She and her husband, Larry, lived in Seneca County's Jackson Township.

She retired from New Riegel High in 1995.

"She loved the students dearly," her husband said. "We'd run into her students, and of course, they're grown people, and they loved to see her and talk to her."

Even in 1970, when she began at New Riegel, the small rural district emphasized the student organization then called Future Homemakers of America.

She taught girls all aspects of household management: sewing, cooking, budget-making, and child rearing.

She supported another student group, HERO - for Home Economics-Related Occupations - and taught boys in such courses as upholstery, her husband said.

Her students competed in state Future Homemakers events in Columbus, for which she'd prepared them in the classroom.

"They all did very well in placing in state competitions," her husband said.

She was born Aug. 25, 1938, in Fostoria to Mary and Oscar Saubers. She was valedictorian of her 1956 class at Fostoria High School. In 1960, she received a bachelor of science in education and home economics from Bowling Green State University.

She taught two years at Lowell Junior High School, Fostoria. She and her husband moved because of his job and, when their daughter was born in 1964, Mrs. Strawman stayed home. The family moved near Fostoria in 1970.

Mrs. Strawman was a member of Wesley United Methodist Church, Fostoria, where she was president of United Methodist Women. She also was an officer with the district organization.

When it was Wesley United Methodist's turn to run the Sharing Kitchen, which serves meals three days a week, she helped organize meals and mobilize members to volunteer. "With people she didn't know, she always had a big smile. That was kind of her trademark, the big smile," her husband said. "She just really loved people, and she'd make them comfortable."

Surviving are her husband, Lawrence, whom she married Sept. 2, 1961, daughter, Carla Jo Leow, and two granddaughters.

The body will be in the Harrold-Floriana Funeral Home, Fostoria, after 1 p.m. today. Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Wesley United Methodist Church, Fostoria.

The family suggests tributes to the church or to Bridge Home Health & Hospice, Findlay.

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