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Roy. JR
Roy. JR

Obituary of Roy. Stratton JR

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Niskayuna - Roy O. Stratton Jr,one of the last surviving witnesses to the Hindenburg disaster on May 6, 1937, died at Ellis Hospital on March 9, 2009. He was 80 years old. Mr. Stratton was born in San Diego, California, on December 1, 1928, the second son of an U.S. Navy warrant officer. The Navy moved the Stratton family often. From ages two through six, Roy lived in China. By 1937, the Stratton's were living at the U.S. Naval Air Station at Lakehurst NJ where Roy, at age 8, witnessed the Hindenburg explosion. At the time, the Stratton's occupied Navy family quarters on the edge of the dirigible airfield. During World War II Roy lived in Newport, RI, where he attended De La Salle Academy. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 17 in 1946 and after a two-year hitch, was honorably discharged. He then matriculated at Brown University in 1948 on the GI bill but was recalled by the Marines in 1950 during the Korean War. He served another two years in the reserves as a Platoon Leader Candidate and was honorably discharged for the second time in 1952. That same year, Roy joined the General Electric Advertising Training program in Schenectady as a trainee copywriter and for the next 36 years enjoyed a successful and rewarding GE career, moving through progressively more challenging assignments. From 1962 - 64, he served as Manager - PR and Communications - GE New York World's Fair Operation, where he was a member of the team working with Walt Disney Studios to develop GE's 1964-65 New York World's Fair Pavilion. In 1966, he was named Manager - Corporate Advertising for the Company. Over the next six years, programs produced under his supervision won more than 50 national advertising awards, among them an Academy Award Nomination for best film documentary, "The Wolf Men" (written and produced by the MGM Documentary Unit's Nicholas Noxon and Irwin Rosten). In 1972, Roy returned to the Schenectady area to head up the Creative Services Operation of the company's in-house advertising agency. Jim Burnside's book 'The Selling of General Electric' called him a "consummate manager of creative people". After his retirement from GE in 1988, his present and past area community volunteer activities included serving until his death as member of the Board of Directors - Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady. From 1988-1997 he was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Parent & Child Society and served as President for four years. Other memberships included the Annie Schaffer Senior Center board. From 1989-1999 he was also an elected Fire Commissioner in Niskayuna Fire District #1 and served as its Board Chairman, 1994-96. Roy's religious and social memberships included the First Reformed Church, the Mohawk Golf Club, the GE Elfun Society, the Brown University Club of NE New York, Friends of the Schenectady Museum, the Schenectady County Historical Society, the Marine Corps League Electric City Detachment, the GE Quarter Century Club and Sigma Nu Fraternity. In the 1960's he was also the Chairman of Brown's National Alumni Schools program where during the six years he served, the number of alumni volunteers grew from 1,200 to more than 3,500. In recent years, Roy spent much time traveling and writing. One of his projects was the centennial book of the Mohawk Golf Club. He also wrote a history of his family, which was published under the title of 'Where We Came From'. He wrote several pieces for the Opinion Section of the Sunday Gazette, also Listener Essays for radio station WAMC. He enjoyed visiting, along with his wife Barbara, their eight children and eleven grandchildren. He is survived by Barbara Dobbins Stratton, whom he married in June of 1999. His first wife, Antoinette "Toni" Stratton died October 10, 1997. Roy is also survived by three daughters: Pamela S. Hutchinson of Bethany CT, Sarah S. Genton of Madrid, Spain, Susanne Stratton of Niskayuna and five grandchildren. Roy also has two surviving step-sisters: Pamela Dickens-Swift of England and Prudence Stratton of Monson, Massachusetts. A memorial service will be held in the Poling Chapel at the First Reformed Church of Schenectady at 3:00pm on Saturday March 14, 2009, following interment in the Church Columbarium. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice or to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady, PO Box 466, Schenectady NY 12301.
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