Joseph Charles Stranger Sr. 92, of Woodstock Va., passed away Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.
Joe was born in St. Vincent, Minn., on March 26, 1931, and was the son of Charles Stranger and Evelyn (Davis) Murch.
After his father’s passing Joe went to Father Flanigan’s Boys Town in Omaha, Neb. While at Boys Town, Joe played several sports including football and basketball. Joe often said that Boys Town gave him his foundation for life. He graduated from Father Flanagan’s Boys Town in 1948. He would often say what an impact Father Flanagan had on him.
After graduation he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Joe said that the Marines gave him everything he ever needed, including a wife. Joe went through boot camp at San Diego, Calif., and his wife Marian went through boot camp at Paris Island, S.C. Joe and Marian enjoyed over 50 years of marriage. Joe played football for the Marine Corps and has always said that his football injuries hurt worse than his war wounds. The Marine Corps sent Joe all over the world. At just 19 years old Joe fought at Chosin Reservoir and was at the Inchon landing during the Korean War. Joe always said Minnesota had been cold, but -50 in Korea was true cold. He went on to serve in the Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. After 20 years of distinguished service Joe retired as a Gunnery Sergeant.
Joe was a bit of a celebrity as during his time in the Marines. He had a pivotal role in “The Sands of Iwo Jima.” A young fresh-faced Joe was stationed at Camp Pendleton during the filming. Just his eyes can be seen while he was driving a tank that was used to incinerate a bunker. He was always upset they made him close the hatch thus ruining his big movie moment.
After retiring from the Marine Corps, Joe settled in Woodstock with his wife and children to start his next career. Joe would spend the next 33 years selling cars and telling stories at Woodstock Garage. He could often be seen sitting on the bench out front smoking his trademark cigar.
When not working, Joe was very active in his community. He served as Commander of Woodstock American Legion Post #199, was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2447, and a member of Woodstock Moose Lodge #575. Serving in many roles throughout the years.
When not serving his community, Joe and Marian could be found at the bowling alley several nights a week for league bowling. Joe was proceeded in death by his wife, Marian Ring Stranger.
He is survived by his son Joseph Charles Stranger Jr. and his wife Constance, and his daughter Helen Kaye Stranger; four grandchildren: Sarah Markel and her husband Ryan, David Stranger, Lesley Stranger, and Shannon Stranger; and three great-grandchildren; D.J., Haylee, and Harrison Stranger.
To those who knew Joe, please raise your glass and toast “Tally-ho The Fox.”
A graveside service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. in Sunset View Memorial Gardens in Woodstock. Military honors will be presented by the United States Marine Corps.
Honorary pallbearers will be The American Legion Post #199.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Shenandoah County Animal Shelter, 268 Landfill Road, Edinburg, Virginia 22824 or Blue Ridge Hospice, 333 West Cork Street, Winchester, Virginia 22601.
Arrangements are in the care of Dellinger Funeral Homes, Woodstock.
Online condolences may be made at www.dellingerfuneralhome.com.