Horace Warner Strong, 89, of Craftsbury Common, VT, died from an accident at his home on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. Horace was born in Marlboro, Massachusetts on February 21, 1925, and came with his parents to Vermont in 1928, just in time for the Great Depression. Educated in the Craftsbury schools, he graduated from Craftsbury Academy in 1943. He farmed for four years and then went to the University of Vermont, where he graduated in 1952, after taking a year off.
He taught an exploratory course in agriculture at Craftsbury for a year and farmed with his brother Burton until 1960. He then began teaching math and science in the Greensboro school. For a farmer to become a teacher required many summers of additional education. He then taught in Craftsbury, where he established an industrial arts program and was instrumental in establishing the CAPE program of physical education. He finished out teaching his fifteen years at Lamoille Union High School. Later he taught part time for fifteen years at Sterling College as a woodworking teacher.
In 1950, he married Ruth Esser. They had five children and enjoyed travelling and canoeing in the summers.
In 1964, he established Strong’s Canoe Yard, a shop that repaired, restored, and built cedar canvas canoes. The shop started with fiberglass canoes, but soon saw the light and made over 125 cedar canvas canoes. The shop also taught canoe building, offering more than 25 classes.
In 1986, he married Shirley Bruns of Latimer, Iowa. Horace and Shirley worked together in the canoe shop, and teaching classes until his retirement in 1998. They traveled winters throughout the United States, finally wintering in Uvalde, Texas in 1997, where they continued to live in their recreational vehicle during the winter months.
He leaves as survivors: his wife Shirley of Craftsbury Common; daughter Nancy West and husband Jim of Craftsbury; son Nathan Strong and wife Vicky of Albany, VT; son Russell Strong of Craftsbury; daughter Lynn Calderwood and husband Ricky of Highgate; son Matthew Strong and wife Patty of Stowe. Also, stepsons Steven Bruns and wife Karen; Mark Bruns and wife Debbie of Iowa; stepdaughter Dee Ann Arlow and husband Steven of Alaska; brother Burton and wife Irene of Craftsbury; sisters-in-law Patty Rodemyer and husband Marvin and LaDona Roelfs and husband Keith of Iowa; and sister-in-law Jackie Campbell and husband Keith of Alaska. Also, six grandchildren, seven step-grandchildren, one great-grandson, and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
Horace was predeceased by his parents, his sister Shirley Strong, and his grandson U. S. Marine Sgt. Jesse Strong.
Funeral services will be held at the United Church of Craftsbury on Monday, June 9, 2014 at 2 PM, with the Rev. Alan Parker officiating, with a committal service at Craftsbury Common Cemetery, followed by a reception at Dunbar Hall on the Sterling College campus.
Contributions in Horace’s memory may be made to the Craftsbury Village Improvement Society or the Craftsbury Historical Society.
Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Curtis-Britch & Davis Funeral Home, Craftsbury Common, VT.