Werner Lefty Strunk
He was born in Weitefeldt, Germany on Aug. 16, 1921, the son of the late Oskar and Emma (Schumann) Strunk. He came to America at the age of two and attended Kenosha schools.
Lefty was a minor league pitcher, who probably spent his best years serving with the 33rd infantry division in the Pacific theater. He played baseball for the Kenosha Orioles, Kenosha Moose team, and in 1939 signed with the Milwaukee Brewers of the old American Association. He then spent three seasons in Class D, playing for Sheboygan, LaCrosse and Eau Claire. His baseball career was interrupted by WWII, when from 1942-1945 he served in the Army 33rd Infantry Division stationed in Hawaii, New Guinea, the Philippines and Japan. In his unit, 196 men left for action and approximately 50 returned.
Lefty returned to baseball and spent the 1946 season with the Minneapolis Millers, a New York Giants AAA farm club team. The following season he played for the Sioux City Class A Western League and then in 1948 he was back with the Millers until mid-season when he injured his shoulder. He had surgery on a torn shoulder muscle, which ended his career. At that time, he was being considered to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1990, he was inducted into the Kenosha Old Timers Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 1947, he married Marianne Spiers of Ohio. She died in 1955. On December 2, 1960, he married Cherie (Hamilton) Jeffson.
Lefty was employed by Isermann Brothers for many years until it closed and then at the First National Bank until he retired in 1986.
Lefty will be remembered by all who knew him for his quick wit, strong personality and his love and knowledge of the game of baseball throughout the years. Whomever he met was immediately referred to as "pal" and it was important to him that he knew your name, which he would remember.
Survivors include his wife, Cherie; his children, Michael (Linda) Strunk, Gary (Noreen) Jeffson, Nancy Andersen, Scott Strunk, Chris (Kathy Jesperson) Strunk; and daughter-in-law, Theresa Strunk, all of Kenosha; ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
In addition to his parents and his first wife, he was preceded in death by his sister, Elsie Sloan; and his son-in-law, Dennis Andersen.
A Memorial Service celebrating Lefty's life will be held on Friday, May 28, 2010, at noon, at the Piasecki-Althaus Funeral Home. Inurnment will follow in Green Ridge Cemetery. A gathering of relatives and friends will be held on Friday, from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home.
The family has requested that flowers be omitted. Memorials remembrances directed to the Optimist Youth Baseball of Kenosha, 5203-58th Street, Kenosha, WI, 53144, would be appreciated.