Tuesday, November 26, 2002


Jean Martha Strasser, 92, outgoing, kind

By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jean Martha Hennegan Strasser's creative and energetic nature was unfaltering.

As a high school student, she was editor of the yearbook. In college, she became the first female editor of the University of Cincinnati's student newspaper.

Before she married, Ms. Strasser hosted her own radio show, How to Keep Ahead of Your Husband. After she married, she cooked up to three different dinners a night - to suit the tastes of her seven children.

In her 90s, she stayed fit doing water aerobics and supplemented her health with acupuncture.

Ms. Strasser died of heart failure Thursday at home. The longtime Hyde Park resident was 92.

"Spunky," said her daughter, Mary Strasser of Mount Lookout. "That's what her doctor called her. She was outgoing, beautiful and kind. Everyone who knew her loved her."

After graduating from Summit Country Day School in 1928, Ms. Strasser continued her education at a college in Detroit before returning a year later to finish her degree at the University of Cincinnati.

She studied English at UC. Besides serving as editor of the school newspaper, she was president of her sorority, Theta Phi Alpha, and was a member of the university's theater troupe, the Fresh Painters.

It was with the acting ensemble that she met her future husband - Elmer Strasser, a member of the group and a law student.

Also during college, she began her column, "Jean About Town," which ran in the Cincinnati Post & Times-Star, and which she continued after her graduation. She also wrote and acted in her own radio shows, including How to Keep Ahead of Your Husband, which aired on WSAI-AM.

She married in 1937 and for many years she spent her time raising her seven children, volunteering and helping organize events like Showcase of the Arts at Summit County Day.

For about 10 years, beginning in 1965, she owned a Mount Lookout business called Gilt Edge Gift Shop.

She was an avid volunteer at the Cincinnati Zoo, Summit County Day and UC. Ms. Strasser was the oldest living member of the Fleur-de-lis, Summit Country Day's group for alumni over 50. She also was president of the national chapter of Theta Phi Alpha.

An active member of Christ the King Church in Mount Lookout, she wrote its variety show, "Hits & Misses," for 10 years.

Her husband preceded her in death.

In addition to her daughter, Mary, survivors include two other daughters, Judith Bohmfalk of Sanibel, Fla., and Jane Washburn of San Francisco; four sons, Dr. Michael Strasser of Prescott, Ariz., Peter Strasser of Batavia, Paul Strasser of Dillsboro, Ind., and James Strasser of Hyde Park; nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. today at George H. Rohde & Son Funeral Home, 3183 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout. Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Christ the King Church, 3223 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout.Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Evanston.

Memorials: Red Wolf Sanctuary, P.O. Box 235, Dillsboro, IN 47018.

E-mail nhamilton@enquirer.com

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