Hannah Louisa M. Strock [1916-2014]; Liberty Center woman taught about 60 years

Louisa Strock, 89, teaches her Comp II class at Northwest State Community College on February 1, 2006.
Louisa Strock, 89, teaches her Comp II class at Northwest State Community College on February 1, 2006.

LIBERTY CENTER, Ohio — Hannah Louisa M. Strock, a lifelong teacher, died Saturday just hours after Northwest State Community College officials named her coordinator emeritus of the college’s Center for Lifelong Learning. She was 98.

Mrs. Strock died of heart failure, said her daughter, Cecily Rohrs.

She often said she wanted to “live until she died.” She did just that.

Her energy? Folks wanted to bottle and sell it.

Consider: When she moved into the Defiance Area Inpatient Hospice Center a few weeks ago, Mrs. Strock had furniture arranged to meet her needs as she continued to pursue various projects.

And she insisted on a connection to her laptop computer.

Tom Stuckey, president of Northwest State near Archbold, visited Mrs. Strock a couple days before the Saturday ceremony.

There she was, he recalled, juggling several projects, including editing a newsletter for the Henry County Retired Teachers Association and developing plans for summer events in Liberty Center.

She born Feb. 14, 1916, daughter of John and Emma Mires. Known as Louisa, she was valedictorian of her 1933 class from Liberty Center High School.

In 1934 she married Frederick Bonner. In 1944 she married Cecil Strock. Both preceded her in death.

A 1937 graduate of Ohio State University, she obtained a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in 1968.

She taught about 30 years at Liberty Center High School and, after “retirement,” was employed about 30 years at Northwest State, where she taught composition and speech, and later was coordinator of the lifelong learning center.

In the last decade, she spent much time at her keyboard, editing others’ memoirs, newsletters, and program copy.

She was a member of Liberty Center United Methodist Church, where she had been an organist and a Sunday school teacher.

And she was a sports fan, cheering on the Liberty Center Tigers, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and the Detroit Tigers, Lions, Pistons, and Red Wings.

Whether teaching — French, vocal music, composition — or serving as drama coach, she gave her best and expected nothing less in return, relatives said.

Mrs. Strock brought out the best in writers, musicians, athletes, choir members, church-goers, community supporters, and those down on their luck.

Other than perhaps football coaches, Mrs. Strock likely was the Henry County village’s best-known resident.

A whirlwind she was. A whiz bang. Her mind tack-sharp, even as her heart failed.

Literally on her death bed, hours before taking her last breath, Mrs. Strock corrected a granddaughter’s grammar (lie vs. lay).

“We loved it,” Mrs. Rohrs said. “She was 98 and was still trying to fix our grammar.”

Mrs. Strock welcomed about 30 guests during the ceremony Saturday. Afterward, she took a nap and never awoke, her daughter said.

In her leadership role at the college’s lifelong learning center, which she had helped create 25 years ago, Mrs. Strock organized dozens of day seminars as well as many overnight adventures, always with a focus on learning.

Teach she did, but she was no “one-trick pony.” Yes, Mrs. Strock, pun intended: She and husband Cecil were active in the harness-racing industry, so she knew a racing card as well as she did the works of Shakespeare.

Mrs. Strock had instant recall for drivers’ names and horses’ bloodlines. Her own horse was named Bender’s Storm.

Mrs. Rohrs recalled school-night road trips to out-of-town races, with Mrs. Strock at the wheel and kids in the backseat. The next morning, they arrived at school on time.

Punctual she was. So too persistent, determined, independent. Make that fiercely independent.

“She was such an exciting expression of life,” Mr. Stuckey said.

Her last lecture was given to a group of college clinical students a few days ago.

It’s one thing to have medical knowledge, the lifelong educator told the group gathered around her bed. But, she said, it is the heart, the caring for the patient that is critical, and that is what makes you a nurse.

Such positive influence she had on others.

“You gave your best because she gave her best always,” Mr. Stuckey said. “She was a mainstay in our community.”

Surviving are her sons, David and John Strock; daughters, Cecily Rohrs and Charlotte Shrider; 14 grandchildren; 32 great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.

A gathering in her honor will be Saturday in Voinovich Auditorium at Northwest State Community College from 1:30 to 8 p.m., with a memorial service at 3:30.

A family committal service will be held later at Young Cemetery, Liberty Center.

Arrangements are by Rodenberger Funeral Home, Napoleon.

The family suggests tributes to the Louisa M. Strock Scholarship Fund at Bowling Green State University; the Liberty Center Library, or the Liberty Center Education Foundation.

Contact Janet Romaker at: jromaker@theblade.com or 419-724-6006.