Everybody calls my mother's side of the family a tribe. As my mother is one of eight, it does seem to make sense. But if we are a tribe, my grandfather was the chief. The patriarch of our family, he has always inspired me. As the youngest of twenty grandchildren, I often felt left out during the parties and get-togethers, but with Grandpa around, I was always included, always involved, even if it was with the adults.
Leo Strutner was born on August 13th, 1925, in St George hospital, Indiana. He was born to two loving parents and a younger sister. He was close to all three, but especially to his only sibling and maintained a close relationship with her throughout the rest of their lives. My grandfather was raised Catholic, and went to a Catholic middle school.
Grandpa's later education was at one of his favorite places in the world: the University of Notre Dame. After completing his degree, he went on to receive his MD from St. Louis. At the University of St. Louis, he met the love of his life, Genevieve. He went on to serve in the Navy, and then received his specialty in cardiology in New York. After all this, he made a very big decision- he, his wife, and first three kids moved out to California, leaving the East Coast. There, Grandpa opened his own MD practice with a dear colleague, Dr. Nagle.
Grandpa loved his family to the end. He kept his relationships open, and stayed in touch with his many children and grandchildren. He made time to listen to all of our opinions, no matter how ridiculous they were. He was a doctor of cardiology, and in caring for others, made a large impact in inspiring my own dream of having a medical career. He was always sacrificing for others, even if it was just his time. After he retired, instead of sitting around, he volunteered at Martha's soup kitchen and became a Knight of Malta. He showed me that if you love the people around you, the love will return to you as happiness. He taught me that having faith that you are doing the right thing will guide you to do so. Lastly, he showed me that if you can do something nice for someone, you should.
My grandfather passed away on April 22, 2012. He left behind a wife, eight children, and twenty grandchildren. Grandpa had a power to bring all of us together, and to make us feel part of the group, part of the tribe. He led us with a light, a love, and a passion, will always be my hero, and will be greatly missed.