Orville N. Strachota passed away peacefully with his wife and family at his side on Thursday, May 2, 2013. Orville was the seventh child, the first and only son, born to Marie (nee Straub) and Simon Strachota on Nov. 14, 1919, in St. Kilian. The day he was born, friends of Simon put a sign up saying in German, “Ein sohn endlich” (“At last a son!”).
Orville grew up in St. Kilian. During grade school and high school he helped out at the family business, Strachota’s General Store, Tavern and Seed plant, run by his father. He attended Pio Nono High School in Milwaukee where he first started his entrepreneurial spirit by selling Van Heusen dress shirts to the priests and fellow students. Orville was a boxer in high school and excelled in classes, especially math.
Orville attended Marquette University, majoring in business. The late summer before his third year was the first time he traveled with his father Simon to purchase locally grown clover seed. During that third year at Marquette, a man who became a very good friend of Orville, Monsignor Father Mack, drove to Marquette, informing Orville that his father Simon had unexpectedly passed away. As the only son, Orville left Marquette in 1940 to help run the family business with assistance from his sisters.
While “crashing” a New Year’s Eve party in 1942, Orville met the love of his life, Marie Weiss. They were joined in marriage on Oct. 21, 1944, at Holy Angels Church in West Bend. Their love and devotion to each other has lasted over 68 years.
Orville and Marie purchased the family business in 1946. In 1955 Orville decided to concentrate on the seed part of the business buying white and red clover seed, and then transitioned into selling seed to farmers. From this start as Strachota Seed, he turned a small seed business into Dairyland Seed with research, production and sales in more than 20 countries. Orville eventually followed his father’s footsteps serving as a director of The First State Bank of Campbellsport for many years. He also served as a director for the B.C. Ziegler Company.
Orville had a deep and abiding Catholic faith. Praying the rosary was part of his daily routine. Attending Mass regularly was very important to him. He believed in higher education, sacrificing personally in order to provide for a Catholic education for his six children. He was proud to have each of his children graduate from Marquette University or the University of Notre Dame. Orville enjoyed fishing and every year he would take his family to northern Wisconsin. In 1968, he was able to fulfill a dream by having a home built “Up North” on his favorite lake, Lac Vieux Desert.
Orville was also a big sports fan. Everyone learned not to interrupt him or engage in idle chit-chat during a Packers or Notre Dame football game or a Marquette basketball game.
Orville and Marie enjoyed traveling. For many years they were able to avoid the Wisconsin winters by travelling to Maui and enjoying the Hawaiian Islands.
Orville is survived by his wife of 68 years, Marie. He is also survived by his six children, Suzanne, Jane (Fred) Wade, Steve (Sharon), Mary Kay, Tom (Patty), and John. He is furthered survived by his eight grandchildren, Matthew (Allysa), Mandi, Elizabeth (Peter) Benz, TJ (Katie), Maggie, Kathleen (Fiancé Andy Kohl), Tom Wade and Michael Wade. He is also survived by four great-grandchildren, Kilian Strachota, Sophia and James Benz, and Lauren Strachota. He is further survived by his brother-in-law Joe (Maybelle) Weiss, sisters- in-law Suzie Weiss and Clara Weiss, other relatives, and friends, including his good friend, Chris Hansen.
Pre-deceasing him are his sisters and brother-in-laws, Elvira (Ray) Groose, Leyola (Al) Weitor, Agnella, Maria, Myrtle (Al) Krejci and Paula (Paul) Hron. Also predeceasing him are his inlaws Ray (Cornelia) Weiss, Armella (Bob) Burt, Arnold (Connie) Weiss, Lorraine (Frank) Heindel, Marguerite (Jim) Baumgartner, Kathryn (Tom) Merriam and Bob Weiss.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 6 p.m. at Holy Angels Catholic Church (138 N. Eighth Ave. in West Bend) on Monday, May 6, 2013. Visitation will be held at the church from 3-6 p.m. on Monday, May 6, 2013. Interment will be held at 11 a.m. at Holy Angels Catholic Cemetery on Tuesday, May 7, 2013. Memorials may be made to the Holy Angels School Trust Fund or to a charity of the donors choosing.
Special thanks to the staff of Cedar Bay East for all their support and assistance.
The Phillip Funeral Home of West Bend is assisting the family; (262) 338-2050 / www.phillipfuneralhome. com.