Dr. Richard Jerome Strand, 82, of La Crosse passed away Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, following a brief illness.
Richard was born Dec. 17, 1934, in rural Ettrick to Helmer and Junice (Molstad) Strand. He attended and graduated from Blair area schools. Richard attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UW-L). While attending UW-L, he married Ruth Tenneson June 25, 1955, at Trempealeau Valley Evangelical Lutheran Church. He was accepted into dental school at Marquette University in 1956, graduating in 1960 with his degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery. He was selected into the internship program as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force in 1960. Richard served his internship at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, (1960 to 61) and finished at Amarillo (Texas) Air Force Base in 1963.
Richard and Ruth moved to La Crosse upon completion of his internship and he opened his practice in July of 1963. He retired in Oct. of 2016 after 54 years of practice.
Dr. Strand was very active in the dental community in La Crosse, the state of Wisconsin, and nationally, and was recognized for his accomplishments in dentistry. He was on the dental staff of St. Francis Medical Center and courtesy staff of La Crosse Lutheran Hospital. Richard was an advisor and guest lecturer at Western Wisconsin Technical Institute, where he developed the first dental assisting program and was an advisor and guest lecturer. He was a member of the Adolf Gundersen Medical Lutheran Hospital and Western Wisconsin Medical Foundation. He served in multiple capacities with the Gundersen Lutheran Foundation, including on the Board, retiring from the foundation in 2003. He received a Distinguished Service Award from the Gundersen Lutheran Foundation. Dr. Strand served in all offices in the La Crosse District Dental Society. He was involved in the first efforts to fluoridate the La Crosse city water system. He was active in the state dental association as a member and chairman of many state committees. Richard was the Fourth District Trustee from 1976 to 1982. He represented Wisconsin as a delegate to the American Dental Association. He served as secretary of the Wisconsin Dental Association (WDA), was elected Vice President of the WDA in 1986, and in 1987 was installed as President of the WDA. He served on the Wisconsin Dentistry Examining Board for over seven years, and was involved in the development of a national dental licensure exam. Dr. Strand was chairman of the American Fund for Dental Health, and was a member of the Pierre Fouchard Academy Federation Dentaire International and an associate member of the Chicago Dental Society. He was elected a Fellow in both the Academy of General Dentistry and the International College of Dentists. He was a Central Region Dental Testing Examiner for many years, evaluating dental program graduates from 20 states.
Dentistry was his passion. He loved every minute he spent with his patients and dedicated long time staff. Over the course of his career, Dr. Strand earned recognition for his efforts. In May 1999, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Dental Association. The award is the WDA’s highest honor and recognizes a dentist who has given time, energy, and expertise to the organizations representing dentistry throughout his or her career. He received the American Fund for Dental Health Award of Merit and was a member of Psi Omega Fraternity Xi Chapter. In Dec. 2006, Dr. Strand received the President’s Award of Honor from the WDA.
Richard was an active member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in La Crosse. He served several times on the church council and was Chairman of the Building Committee. Family activities were very important to him and he enjoyed spending the summers boating on the Mississippi River, downhill skiing, and attending sporting events with his family.
Richard is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ruth Strand; four children, Jeffrey (June) Strand of Trempealeau, Susan (Steven) Bohren of Castle Pines, Colo., Gregory (Jynine) of Wauwatosa, Wis., and Kathryn Strand Alo of La Crosse; 10 grandchildren, Jennifer (Graham) Wegner, Brandon and Ryan Strand, Kelli and Andrew Bohren, Annika, Jenna, and Claudia Strand, and Lauren and Alexis Alo; one great-grandchild, Benjamin Wegner; a sister, Betty Nelson; and brother-in-law, Robert Nelson of St. Charles, Mo.; sister-in-law, Martha Sesvold of La Crosse; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, John and Carla Tenneson of Taylor, Wis.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by an infant son, David; his parents; in-laws, Thomas and Esther Tenneson; sister and brother-in-law, Eleanor and John L. Ellison; brother and sister-in-law, Donald and Daphne “Pat” Strand; and brother-in-law, Robert Sesvold.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 9, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 4141 Mormon Coulee Rd., La Crosse. The Rev. Harald Bringsjord will officiate. Immediately following the service, military honors will be rendered outside of the church by the Roy L. Vingers American Legion Post 52 of La Crosse and the U.S. Air Force Funeral Honor Guard. Burial will be in Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Blair. A visitation will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Home, Woodruff Chapel, 4239 Mormon Coulee Rd., La Crosse, and also from 10 a.m. Monday until the time of service at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation or Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, both of La Crosse. Online condolences may be sent at www.jandtfredrickson.com.