Rollin Strohman

Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2011, 5:42 pm
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Rollin Strohman, 71, a patient and passionate educator, a brilliant and self-effacing thinker, a practical and focused inventor, a proud and loving father, a faithful and supportive husband, a loyal and generous brother, and a purveyor and model of integrity, died at home on Sept. 8, 2011, from acute leukemia.

A memorial service will be 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 490 Los Osos Valley Road, Los Osos, Calif. In lieu of flowers, he'd be pleased to have donations sent in his honor to Youth Outreach for the Performing Arts Center (YOPAC), Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407; or Dept. of Bio-Resources and Agricultural Engineering, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407. A family and friends service will take place in Geneseo, Ill., with the burial of the ashes on Oct. 8.

Rollin was born in 1939, in Geneseo, and attended country schools until seventh grade. After graduating from high school in Geneseo, he attended the University of Illinois, receiving a masters degree in agricultural engineering. Subsequently, he obtained his PhD from Purdue University, his thesis integrating biological formulas in the study of emerging field of drying shelled corn.

His professional life was dedicated to educating the students of the Department of Agricultural Engineering (BRAE), California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Ready to help students who wanted to learn, his office was always open to the diligent. Quickly adapting to new computer capability, he provided powerful resources to the college. Tirelessly attempting to provide training equipment, even as a Professor Emeritus, he traveled the country to receive grants of surveying and spectroscopic equipment for the benefit of Cal Poly.

Even as a young man, Rollin showed an analytic and curious temperament. As a 4-H and FFA member, he distinguished himself in projects and demonstrations. At college, he learned to fly a plane and was the first of his family's generation to attend graduate school. He had a lifelong interest in agriculture, from the experimental plots of corn he planted in Illinois to the GIS mapping of forests in California. With collaborators, he created an online course in Precision Farming. He volunteered as an usher at the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly where he especially enjoyed helping with programs for youth. As a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, Los Osos, he patiently brought it into the computer age. Rollin loved his family very much and was so proud of his children and grandchildren. He spent time with his kids, especially influencing their interests in science, math, computers, agriculture and cross-country running. His primary worry was his wife's lack of computer skills.

Rollin is survived by his wife of 42 years, Clare Strohman, Los Osos; daughter, Deena Strohman, St. Paul, Minn.; son, Trevor (Anne-Marie) Strohman, and grandchildren Evan and Natalie, Sunnyvale, Calif.; brother, Roger Strohman, Galesburg; brother, Darrell (Linda) Strohman, Geneseo; sister, Joyce Strohman, Geneseo, Ill.; sister-in-law, Marlene Strohman, Rockford, Ill.; and two uncles, Don (Mary) Strohman, Erie, and Bob (May) Strohman, Tucson, Ariz.; and two beloved cats, Joey and Charolette. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence and Alberta Strohman; and brother, Loren Strohman.


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