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Duane Stroman, Author and Community Leader, Dies at 73

(Posted September 5, 2007)

Duane Stroman, professor emeritus of sociology, 1934-2007

By BECKY WEIKERT Daily News Staff Writer Senator and orator Daniel Webster once said, \"What a man does for others, not what they do for him, gives him immortality.\" In that case, Dr. Duane Stroman\'s legacy will live on forever. Stroman died Wednesday, Aug. 29, at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, following a long battle with cancer. He was 73. Best known for his commitment to the field of human services, Stroman\'s contributions to the community were diverse. \"He was very strongly connected to the community,\" said Dr. James Lakso, Juniata College provost and personal friend of Stroman. A native of Fostoria, Ohio, Stroman came to Juniata College in 1963. In his more than four decades of service to the college, he served as chairman of the sociology department, associate professor of sociology and assistant dean of students, among many other titles. He was also recognized with the Beeghley Award for distinguished teaching in 1984. \"Duane was highly regarded by his students and colleagues,\" said Lakso. \"He was the rock of social sciences at Juniata.\" Following his retirement in 2004, Stroman continued to teach part-time as part of Juniata\'s phase retirement program for three years. He most recently taught a class during the spring 2007 semester. In addition to his teaching contributions, Stroman helped to connect Juniata with the Huntingdon community. \"In the last two years, Juniata has made a much more continuous effort to be connected to the Huntingdon community,\" said Lakso. \"Duane was a pioneer in that. This community was very important to him.\" Stroman was also a member of the Huntingdon Rotary Club and involved with a number of local boards, committees and government agencies and the founder of Raystown Developmental Services (RDS). \"He was a great advocate for people with developmental disabilities,\" said Liz Simpson, program director for RDS. Founded in the 1980s, it was Stroman\'s vision to provide developmentally disabled individuals with the opportunity to live as independently as possible and have quality of life. Since its inception, Simpson said RDS has grown into several programs, providing community living homes, life sharing services, community rehabilitation services and adult training services. Until recently, Stroman helped to provide training to RDS staff and served as president until 2000. \"We provide services to many who are coming from institutions or situations where they previously lived alone or with elderly. We help to improve the quality of life and give them a sense of independence.\" As an advocate of the human service organizations, Stroman also became involved with Leadership Huntingdon County, serving as a steering committee member. \"Duane was very involved from the initial meeting in July 2002, representing Juniata College and his interest in the human service organizations in the county,\" said Debbie Gregory, Leadership Huntingdon County (LHC) steering committee chair. Gregory lauded Stroman for his creation of a synopsis of all of the human service organizations in Huntingdon County for the Leadership classes. \"He created a one-page handout of all the organizations and the class participants were just amazed to see how many services there were in Huntingdon County,\" said Gregory. As part of his involvement with LHC, Gregory said Stroman taught one of the Leadership evening class sessions each year, including for the Class of 2007. He ended his term on the steering committee in January 2007. \"He shared his wealth of knowledge with the community and people and really helped to get Leadership Huntingdon County established,\" concluded Gregory. Stroman was also known among his colleagues as a published author, having published five academic books on medical sociology, mental illness and advocacy for mental, physical and social disabilities. Stroman was known to many on a personal level, as well as professional. \"For 27 years, I had an office across the hall from him,\" said Lakso. \"Like many others, I feel I\'ve lost a really good friend. He was a person of high integrity, he was \'the salt of the earth.\" Friends were received at the John B. Brown Funeral Home, 417 Washington St., Huntingdon, from 7-9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3, and interment was in in Riverview Cemetery, Huntingdon. A scholarship fund in Stroman\'s name is being established through Kish Bank. Memorial contributions may be made to the Dr. Duane F. Stroman Legacy Scholarship Fund, c/o Kish Bank, P.O. Box 593, Huntingdon, PA 16652. The fund will assist Juniata College students majoring in sociology or social work, who exemplify Stroman\'s ideals.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.