Nov. 30, 1945 – Sept. 25, 2018
John Anders Strom was born in Overtornea, Sweden, on Nov. 30, 1945. He joined the family of Rolf, Anna Lisa and Moody Backstrom. When he was 3 years old he came, along with his parents, on a ship to the United States and to Cowley, where he lived the rest of his life.
His mother often remarked how everyone was seasick except “mine Yonnie.” John ran around the ship while the grownups were deathly ill. He was hard to keep up with even then. A few years later the family was joined by Roy, Don and Clark.
John spent his teenage years hod carrying for the Swedes — his dad Rolf and uncle Bill Nordenstam. John learned the trade of a mason from the “masters” and was very proud of his work. John was a very hard worker. Even recently, when his health was not the best, he grew a garden and did most of the yard work.
John’s craftsmanship is just about everywhere throughout the communities. Whether it was a school or a fireplace he would comment that he worked on that job. He was an excellent mason and he was proud of his work. He laid brick on the Rocky Mountain Elementary School, the aquatic center in Cody, Northwest College, the Lovell Middle School and the Lovell swimming pool and gymnasium, just to name a few.
John was especially a master builder and designer of fireplaces. John set a personal record of laying a little over 1,200 bricks in one day. He was fortunate enough to repeat history as his grandfather, Charlie Strom, came to Wyoming to work on the retaining walls in Yellowstone National Park. In later years, John was able to repair the same walls.
John loved his Swedish ancestry. His mother, Anna Lisa, would make Swedish Christmas cookies that would melt in your mouth. He loved it when Lynne made Swedish pancakes. He also loved Dopecoup (Swedish potatoes), caviar (ordered in) and pickled herring. John was able to travel back to Norway and Sweden twice in his lifetime and met many of his relatives.
In 1965, John married Lynne Tippetts in Colorado Springs. To this union were born two children, Lisa and Charlie.
One of John’s proudest moments was when he became a citizen of the United States. The date was Sept. 11, 1995. He studied hard for the test, passing with ease. However, according to the instructor, he missed one answer on the test. John knew he was right and couldn’t let it go, so he asked brother-in-law Ralph to ask the history teacher in Lovell about the question, and wouldn’t you know it, John was correct. Leave it to John to call the instructor and correct the record.
Upon becoming a citizen John had to legally change his name to Strom instead of Backstrom. The family had shortened the name when they came to the United States, but it wasn’t done legally until Sept. 11, 1995. You could say he carried a green
card. He wasn’t illegal … just undocumented.
John graduated from Cowley High School in 1964. He still has the same childhood friends he made when he got off the boat from Sweden, and over the years he has made a lot of new friends, as well.
John touched many lives, especially when you consider that he never really served on any committees, boards of directors or volunteered for many projects, but he didn’t have to. He ministered to others and his community in his own way, a way that few people can, and that was through humor — touching the lives of so many people through humor. A gift from God.
Making people laugh and forgetting about their worries and troubles is one of the most divine characteristics a person can have, and John had it. Even the people in Heaven can be lifted up through laughter. John is with them now, providing a good story, a quick comeback, an opportunity to smile.
John died Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, as the result of a motor vehicle accident.
He is survived by his wife, Lynne, daughter Lisa, son Charlie (Jodi), brothers Roy of Vancouver, Wash., Don of Riverton, Wyo., and Clark of Salt Lake City, sister-in-law Marguerite Strom of Cowley, grandchildren P.J (Janel) Thatch, Daniel (Aubrey), Connor and Halen Strom and one great-granddaughter, Saylor.
John was preceded in death by his father Rolf, mother Anna Lisa, brother Moody and grandson Joseph.
Memorial services were held Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Cowley LDS Church followed by the burial of cremains in the Cowley Cemetery. Haskell Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
To send one of our special floral arrangements, please call Valley Flowers & Gifts in Lovell, 307-548-7101