Bernard Robert Strohm (Barney) died of natural causes at age 94 on November 16, 2020 in Eureka, California. He was born to Frank and Agnes (Nelson) Strohm, the middle child of ten, in Lyons, Iowa. He and his brothers survived many adventures on the Mississippi River together. A star football player in high school, he joined the military towards the end of WW II, at age 17, after he lost a brother to that war. He served in the Pacific Theatre.
Upon his return from overseas, Barney was able to enter college on the GI Bill. He married LaVonne F. Holm, his high school sweetheart, in 1947. Together they had seven children, providing a wonderful home first in Iowa, then Columbus, Ohio, then in Los Angeles, and finally in Grizzly Flats, California. Family was supremely important to Pop, and he was always home for dinner. He extended a loving kind hand to many nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great grandchildren and friends over the years.
After earning his bachelor’s degree at the University of Iowa in 1950, he went on to earn both his Physical Therapy license and a Master’s Degree. After many years working hands-on as a skilled physical therapist, he eventually became a Senior Administrator at UCLA Health. He was very capable, caring, and committed to the organization, and as a result was well-loved by those who worked for him and with him. He fought the polio epidemic, established a school for physical therapy in collaboration with Cal State Northridge, and successfully led multiple departments throughout the UCLA System.
He always emphasized the importance of “making a contribution” to the world and “doing the right thing” when it came to social injustices. Although he carried a lot of responsibility, he never put on “airs”. He was infamous for parking his little VW bug in the UCLA VIP parking lot next to all the Mercedes, Porches, and other fancy cars. He was civic-minded. He participated in the Unitarian Church of Santa Monica, as president and chair of the fund-raising drive for several years. Even in retirement, Pop was a member of the local water board, volunteered for first aid efforts, the Volunteer Fire Department’s community crab feeds, and fire safety efforts.
Barney travelled the world for both his work, and with LaVonne. He attended to amputees after the 1964 Alaska earthquake; helped establish medical services in India, Sri Lanka, and Egypt. He visited Russia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Peru, and Africa. Every summer he traded in his first class airplane ticket in favor of loading the whole family into the VW bus for cross-country camping trips in order to get to his professional conference.
Preceding him in death were his parents, his brothers Eugene, Donald, Abe, Frank and Paul; and his sisters Marion and Alyce. He is survived by his wife of 73 years, LaVonne, and his seven children: Laura (Haven), Nancy (Peter), Dan (Catherine), Carolyn, Jill (Mark), David, and Janet; thirteen grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Lloyd, his sister, Shirley, sister-in-law Judy, and many nieces and nephews.
Barney lived a long and wonderful life. If desired, donations of remembrance of him may be forwarded to: UCLA Global Health Program Fund giving.ucla.edu/strohm This fund helps support international clinical care, health education, and medical students. A celebration of his life will be held when the pandemic allows.
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Barney’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.