Fox Force member received many medals including Bronze Star
William “Bill”?Albert Strate, 58, of Lake Ozark, Mo., formerly of St. Louis, Mo., lost his 2 1/2 courageous battle with cancer on Friday, Aug. 15, 2008 on the Hospice Unit at Harry S. Truman Veterans Memorial Hospital in Columbia, Mo.
He was born July 15, 1950, in St. Louis to the late William C. and Ada B. Strate.
Bill was the loving husband of Toni (nee Masek) Strate. They were united in marriage on Dec. 31, 1980, in St. Louis.
He was the dear father of Greg (Rachel) of Lake Ozark; Bill (Lori) of St. Louis; Tara (Kenneth) Hugen of Laurie, Mo.; and Dawn (Donny) Whitelaw of St. Louis.
He was a devoted “Papa” to his granddaughters Hailey, Avery, Kebrina, Monica, Booke, Brianna, Kayla and Alliahna, who is expected on Aug. 28, 2008.
Bill was the beloved son-in-law of June Masek, brother of Mark and the late Robert; brother-in-law, uncle, nephew, cousin and dear friend.
Bill served his country in the U.S. Army and was a very proud member of Fox Force, 1/14th Battalion 4th Infantry Division, Recon in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Army Occupational Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Expert M-16, and the Bronze Star Medal. The cancer that took his life was the result of his exposure to the Agent Orange while serving his country in Vietnam.
He was reunited with his Fox Force brothers in 2002, their bond and friendship from so long ago was instantly rekindled. They remained a very important part of his life and were his strength during his long and courageous fight with cancer.
Bill was laid out at Kutis South County Chapel in St. Louis and was laid to rest at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, where he was given full military honors.
His pallbearers were his Fox Force brothers - John Hedley of Denver, N.C., Alan Buckelew of Los Angeles, Calif., Dan Williams of New Port Richey, Fla., Jim Harris of Valley Mines, Mo., Gary Felton of Clintondale, N.Y., Jim Murphy of Austintown, Ohio and Lary Des Jardins of Fort Gratiot, Mich.
His eulogy was given by John Hedley, his Lieutenant in Fox Force. Alan Buskelew and Jim Harris also spoke at his service.
Prior to his death, Bill set up the William A. Strate Memorial Fund to help with the college expenses of his beloved granddaughters. Donations can be made to c/o Great Southern Bank, 4571 Hwy. 54, Ste. B, Osage Beach, MO 65065.
His wife Toni, his children and grandchildren would like to express their heartfelt appreciation for the outpouring of love, support, flowers and donations from family and dear friends.
A special thank you to the Missouri Patriot Guard, led by Capt. Bill “Fueler” Hunt for the honor guard and the escort to the National Cemetery.