Rear Admiral Joseph C. Strasser, US Navy (Retired) passed away from this life on Friday, June 21 in Voorhees, NJ. He was 78 years of age.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 55 years, Barbara Anne (Wagner), and three children, Joseph Charles Jr.(Shellaine Corwel), Andrew Blake (Amy Steiner), Mary Kathryn (Matthew Long), and eight grandchildren. Daughter, Patricia Jean (Greg Jimenez) predeceased him. Also surviving are Joe’s sister, Margaret Strasser Ricci (Louis), sister-in-law Anne Campo Strasser (Edward J. “Jack” Strasser, Jr., predeceased) and many nieces and nephews. A younger brother, Peter, also pre- deceased him. He was the son of the late Edward J. and Mary Blake Strasser.
Born in Camden NJ, he grew up in Collingswood, and graduated from Camden Catholic High school in 1958. In 1995 Joe was named a Distinguished Graduate of CCHS and was inducted in 2009 to the Hall of Fame.
Joe entered the US Naval Academy, graduating in 1963. He also participated in an exchange program with the Chilean Navy and after graduation was assigned to the Argentine Tall Ship LIBERTAD, for a six month maiden voyage around the world. Thus began life-long relationships with these two Navies.
As a surface warfare officer, Joe served aboard destroyers and frigates and he made four deployments to the Vietnam area between 1965-1967. He commanded the USS O’CALLAHAN (FF-1051), Destroyer Squadron 35, Cruiser Destroyer Group 3 and the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) aircraft battle group, all in the Pacific.
Ashore he served in the Pentagon, at the Naval Academy as 5th Battalion Officer and Officer in Charge of the Fourth Class Regiment for the classes of 1986 and 1987, as Executive Assistant to Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., when the Admiral was Commander-in-Chief-Pacific, and later when Crowe served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Joe’s final tour of duty was as President of the Naval War College, Newport RI for five years, and was named President Emeritus upon retirement, having been the longest consecutive serving President.
His decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (3 awards), The Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards) the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal (with combat V), a number of campaign medals and decorations from south Korea, Bahrain, Chile and Argentina.
Joe graduated from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy,Tufts University, where he earned a Master’s Degree in International Relations, another in International Law and Diplomacy and a doctorate in Political Science.
Upon retirement from the Navy in 1995, Joe spent 5 years at Penn State University, first as the DuBois Campus CEO, and then as inaugural Dean of the Commonwealth College. He returned to the Naval War College serving as Foundation Director, until 2006.
Joe remained active in retirement, volunteering for many boards and committees in his community and church. He was also on the Board of Directors of USAA (United Services Automobile Association) for 14 years.
Throughout his entire career, Joe felt blest with the love and support of his wonderful wife, Barbara. During numerous long deployments, she alone cared for children and home, and at the War College entertained literally thousands of guests. Joe said that he owed his success to Barbara and their wonderful children.
Joe was always active in his Church first as young alter boy, then lector, Eucharistic Minister, religious education instructor and a member of a marriage prep team. He was an active member of the St. Vincent dePaul Society of St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church, in Newark, DE, where he and Barbara resided at the Village of Long Creek after leaving RI. A final move was made back to NJ to be near family, with residence at Brightview at Greentree in Marlton, earlier this year.
Family and friends are invited to the viewing at BLAKE-DOYLE Funeral Home, 226 W. Collings Ave., Collingswood, NJ 08108 on Monday July 1, 2019 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish, St. John Church, 809 Park Ave. Collingswood NJ on Tuesday, July 2, at 10:30 am. Burial will take place at a later date. Please leave your remembrances of Joseph on BLAKE-DOYLE.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be made to Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, 5218 North Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19141, or the US Naval War College, 686 Cushing Rd., Newport, RI 02841, or the US Naval Academy Foundation, 274 Wood Rd., Annapolis, MD 21402