Obituary for John Francis Striker (1925-2022)
John Francis Striker, a lifelong New Yorker, was born on February 5, 1925 to Fortunato Strika, a Yugoslav immigrant, and Frances Surrette. His Anglicized surname was the result of a mistake on his birth certificate, which his parents decided to keep. He grew up playing stickball and bringing home stray animals in the streets of Astoria, Queens, while his family struggled through the Great Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor, John enlisted in the U.S. Navy while still a student at Stuyvesant High School. He began his five years of active duty as an Ensign on Fleet Air Wing One, and was promoted to Lieutenant J.G. after he helped rescue his shipmates from a fire caused by a kamikaze attack. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Victory Medal for his service in World War II. During the Korean War, he returned to active duty and served as communications officer on a Navy base in San Diego.
After the wars, John earned a B.A. in English at Brooklyn College, did postgraduate work at New York University, and put the skills he had learned in the Navy to good use in the communications department at Time Inc., eventually being promoted to Director of Communications during a 35-year career. His job, which he loved, enabled him to travel the world – every place Time Magazine had a bureau -- and attend both Democratic and Republican conventions every four years. Upon retirement, he divided his time between New York and Cape Cod, where he and his family had summered since the 1960s. John became a devoted environmentalist and rescuer of beached dolphins, wounded birds and lost terrapins. Inspired by his father, a professional chef, John referred to his summer home as “John’s Restaurant,” where he made many feasts for family and friends with seafood he had caught, and home-grown vegetables from his organic garden. He had a long and happy retirement with his wife Ardelle, who predeceased him in 2009. He passed away on December 28, 2022, five weeks shy of his 98th birthday. He is survived by a daughter and many friends, who will all miss him terribly.