SPARTA, NJ – Each year the Sparta Township Council recognizes a resident as the Outstanding Older American. At the April 11 council meeting the Sparta Senior Advisory Committee and the Sparta Recreation Committee nominee Marjorie Strohsahl was unanimously approved for the 2017 recognition.
When Strohsahl’s name was announced as part of the liaison report to the council, she was in the audience, having attended the meeting for a different matter.
“There are many deserving seniors who do good work,” Township Manager William Close said. “It is a testament to you to have been recognized.”
“I’ve worked with you many times as a volunteer," Mayor Gil Gibbs said. "Congratulations.”
“I’m so honored and surprised,” Strohsahl said.
Strohsahl has lived in Lake Mohawk since 1997. She was born in Jersey City, was raised there and in Kearney and attended Jersey Prep and Rutgers University.
She was married in 1966 and had two children Brett and Gabrielle, before moving to Sussex county in 1976. When she remarried she became a Sparta resident.
After a long illness, her husband Don Strohsahl “a most wonderful man,” passed in November 2012. “Our time together of 15 years was far too short,” Strohsahl said. Just 30 days later her mother passed as well.
Her son Brett lives and works in Florida with his three children. Daughter Gabrielle lives and works in Colorado with her son and will be adopting a child with disabilities, according to Strohsahl.
Volunteerism is important to Strohsahl. Her extensive history of volunteering includes not only participation but also holding executive positions in the organizations including extensive work with New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Club. She has also been involved with:
- Sparta Woman’s Club,
- Junior Women’s Club,
- Xi Beta Rho Society,
- Lake Mohawk Historical Society,
- Sparta Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi International,
- Sparta Historical Society,
- National Alliance on Mental Illness,
- Ogdensburg Historical Society,
- Ogdensburg First Aid Squad and
- St. Kateri Church.
Boy scouting was a family affair. Her husband was a Scoutmaster, her son an Eagle scout and her home was often the weekly meeting location.
Strohsahl’s volunteer work did not go unrecognized. She has earned numerous awards for her work, initiatives and longevity with the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs and Woman of the Year twice from her sorority. She received Founders award from Sparta Historical Society and President’s award from the Ogdensburg Historical Society.
Strohsahl’s employment resume begins while she was still in high school as a part time secretary for a Newark attorney. She continued as a high-level secretary for several New Jersey companies including Prudential and Hartz Mountain and for the Borough of Ogdensburg. She served as Executive Secretary to the President of three Sparta companies and was the Theater Coordinator for Perona Farms.
According to her biography, Strohsahl’s father was considered a child prodigy, attending Julliard as a violinist. He played under Eugene Ormandy of the Philadelphia Philharmonics and with the New York Orchestral Society. He performed at Carnegie Hall and with notable musicians including Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland. Beyond that he founded the Hudson Conservatory of Music and had his own radio program.
Her mother, the youngest of nine children, was born in Passaic and later moved to New York. She was artistic and creative as well, winning awards for her art. She became a seamstress, starting her own business after creating a beautiful wedding dress. She also sang with the New York Peoples Chorus, performing solo at Carnegie Hall.
The award dinner will be held at Knoll Heights Senior Center on May 5.