Husband and wife, Benjamin R. Strong and Judith N. Strong, passed away recently in Pensacola, Fla. They are survived by two sons, Philip C. Strong (Linda McCaughin) and Rush P. Strong, and one grandson, Bret McCaughin-Strong, all of Idyllwild, Calif.; and one daughter, Jennifer S. Westermann (John H. Westermann Jr.) and three grandchildren, Sandy, Christine and Casey Westermann, all of Endicott, N.Y.
Ben Strong (May 25, 1927-Jan. 17, 2010) was both a philanthropist and an avid supporter of the arts. He was also a beloved husband, father and grandfather. Born in New Orleans, La., he attended Tulane University, and was a enthusiastic Saints fan. Ben retired from IBM after 32 years in management in Large Systems Development.
A few of his many volunteer leadership positions over the years include: the Bardavon 1869 Opera House Board and the Duchess County Arts Council Board in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; and the Pensacola Opera Board, the Arts Council of NW Florida Board, the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Board, and the Pensacola Council of the Navy League Board in Florida.
Ben had also served as a licensed layreader, a Vestryman, and a Senior Warden for the Episcopal Church over the years. In November 2008, he gave the opening and closing prayers at grandson Bret’s Eagle Scout Ceremony held at St. Hugh’s Episcopal Church in Idyllwild.
Judy Strong (Aug. 17, 1929-Feb. 11, 2010) was also born in New Orleans, La. She graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, then married Ben Strong in 1951. Styling herself as a “community volunteer,” Judy was also a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother.
She volunteered countless hours in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and then in Pensacola, Fla., for the following groups: T. T. Wentworth Museum, Opera League, Symphony League, Museum Art Guild, Choral Society, Tracer’s Treasures Thrift Shop, and the Nearly New Thrift Shop. Dixie, Judy’s and Ben’s therapy Greyhound, made weekly rounds with Judy at the Azalea Trace Retirement Home. Judy was also a lifelong, active member of the Episcopal Church.
Memorial services were held at Saint Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Pensacola, Fla. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in their memory to the following: Idyllwild HELP Center & Thrift Shop, P.O. Box 660, Idyllwild, CA 92549; Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida, 105 North “S” Street, Pensacola, FL 32505; and The Strong Opera Fund, Bardavon 1869 Opera House, 35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.
The memories of Ben and Judy Strong shall live long in the minds and hearts of their family and friends.