Jeffrey John Robert
A stranger to none and a friend to all, Jeffrey Stroika touched everyone who was within his reach. He experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer, but what made everything truly extraordinary was sharing these experiences with his family and friends. A loving husband and devoted father, there couldn’t have been a grandfather who was more proud than Jeff was, and he loved being a kid at heart where his grandson was concerned. Known for his generous nature, he would do whatever he could to help others, and although he had his opinions he was never judgmental. Jeff leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that will be forever cherished by his family and friends.
With the end of WWII in 1945 there was dancing in the streets across the nation. The days that followed sent countless young servicemen and women back home and brought an end to rationing on common goods while manufacturing resumed the prewar workload. It was during this transitional time that Jerome and Cecilia (Eberle) Stroika were blessed with the birth of a healthy baby boy on September 3, 1946. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jeffrey John Robert was one of seven children in his family. Until the early 1950s the family lived in Milwaukee, but they moved to San Gabriel Valley, California, when Jeff was a young boy. He was very close to his two older siblings, Russ and Sharon, as it was only the three of them for quite some time. Of course Jeff always wanted to keep up with his older siblings so at times Sharon and Russ were left trying to ditch their pesky little brother. Jeff was a good kid who wasn’t one to get into trouble. Eventually, the Stroika family was later completed with the births of four additional boys, Jimmy, Steven, Robert, and Dion. It was as a teen that Jeff developed great compassion for both people and animals.
Someone who was willing to work hard, Jeff began his career mixing paint at Automotive Paint Supply in Glendora, California. He advanced to sales and then got involved with painting vehicles. Jeff truly enjoyed his work as well as the people he worked with. In the 1970s he moved to San Diego County where he worked in the same profession for thirty years, the bulk of which was spent working for the Fender Mender in Encinitas, California.
Life was forever changed when he met and married Tish Oxford in the early seventies. Together they were blessed with two sons, Jeff and Damien. Becoming a father was always the proudest moment of Jeff’s life. He always liked the ocean and the San Diego area so that is where he settled with his family. He loved just living by the ocean and the energy it brought to him and the people living near. Jeff liked family gatherings, and when his children were young he loved spending Thanksgiving and Christmas in the mountains, especially Big Bear. Jeff and Tish later divorced.
Jeff met Beate Klapperbein in the early nineties. At first they were great friends, and they later became husband and wife. Together he and Beate bought a beautiful house that they shared with their two dogs, Shasti and Blue. They preferred spending their days off each week working in the yard to make it more beautiful. In fact, Jeff and Beate chose working in the yard over vacations or fancy trips as their yard was their real “get away” from the daily work grind. He was deeply saddened with Beate’s death in 2010.
The majority of Jeff’s interests were centered around his love for the outdoors. Although he was not a fan of the beach, he loved fishing out on the ocean. He went on deep sea trips with friends Mikey, Dennis, Lauren, and Scott, and he also went lake fishing up in Mammoth with family. Jeff also did some river fishing with his son Jeff in Virginia and with his brother Russ in Utah. He was a skilled hunter who loved hunting deer in Utah and Virginia and hunting doves in Yuma with his brother-in-law Larry. It was never as much about the hunting itself as it was about being with his family and friends. Jeff liked traveling to Mexico, not only for the shrimp and beautiful places to explore but also for the simplicity and strong family bonds of the culture. However, Utah was his favorite place to be and where he had wanted to spend his sunset years. With a love for his hometown of Milwaukee, Jeff regularly went back home to visit family and friends.
In addition to his love for the outdoors, Jeff was a man of many other interests. He was kind to animals and had a special place in his heart for dogs – so much so that at times he talked more with dogs than with people! Jeff read the paper from beginning to end and was a fan of Mark Twain and his work. He was an avid fan of the L.A. Dodgers, loved the Detroit Lions and his hero, Barry Sanders, and liked UCLA basketball as well as his other hero, coach John Wooden. Jeff loved food, especially barbecuing with friends and family, and it has been said that he loved to head to Costco to stock up on late night munchies and snacks. He appreciated the lights and glitz of casinos and enjoyed trying his luck at scratchers and gambling, was a photography enthusiast, and loved to look at the new auto bodies and designs as well as “cruising the roads with a clean ride.”
All who knew Jeff would agree that he was such a blessing to them. It was clear to see that he firmly believed that actions spoke louder than words, and nothing meant more to him than a personal visit rather than a card in remembrance of his birthday, Christmas, or another special day. Jeff was exceedingly generous both in sharing his wisdom and in giving of himself and his time. He was more than willing to help whether it was watering someone’s plants, taking out a neighbor’s trash, or taking care of other people’s dogs in addition to whatever else he could to do help. More recently Jeff was filled with unspeakable joy to become a grandpa to Miles, and there were no limits to the love he felt for his grandson. Jeff was so proud of Miles’ “rascality,” a term he used to describe his grandson’s fun-loving antics. He had a great sense of humor and loved acting like a kid himself when his grandson was around. Jeff even wore an American Indian costume for Miles’ first Thanksgiving.
When reflecting on the life of Jeffrey Stroika, words such as sweet, easygoing, and lovable come to mind, but perhaps the word that paints the most accurate picture of such an extraordinary man is selfless. He went out of his way to show others they were loved and was generous in ways both great and small. With his own amazing sense of humor it was almost impossible to play a joke on Jeff, while at the same time he was a problem solver who was detail oriented and a perfectionist through and through. It has been said that he loved his family, friends, and animals with a passion, and they in turn will forever cherish the memories they made together now that Jeff is gone.
Sadly, Jeff Stroika died on July 9, 2014. Jeff’s family includes his sons, Jeff and Damien (Marife), grandson Miles, his mother Cecilia Stroika, siblings Sharon (Larry), Russ (Peggy), Jimmy and Steven, nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. He was preceded in death by his brothers Robert and Dion. Celebrate Jeff’s life with family and friends on Saturday, October 4, 2014, from 1-4 p.m. at Fletcher Cove Community Center 133 Pacific Avenue, Solana Beach, CA.