In memoriam: John Strasma

John Strasma, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics, died on July 13, 2007 at the age of 75. The following obituary appeared in the Madison newspapers on July 18.


Strasma, John Drinan MADISON – John Drinan Strasma, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin in the Departments of Agricultural and Applied Economics and of Economics, passed away on Friday, July 13, 2007. He was born in Kankakee, Ill., on March 29, 1932, to Roy and Charlotte (DeSelm) Strasma. He graduated from DePauw University in Indiana in 1953 with majors in economics and business. His employment as an industrial engineer by Proctor and Gamble in St. Louis was interrupted by a period of service in the U.S. Army. He then completed a Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University which included a Fulbright scholarship in Chile. Later he returned to the University of Chile where he assisted in initiating its graduate program in agricultural economics and began work on questions of land tenure reform with the Rockefeller and the Ford Foundations under the three presidents of Chile who preceded President Pinochet. Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin in Madison, his career included work with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the Peruvian Ministry of Finance, the United Nations institute in Senegal and the UN Secretariat in New York, and he served as the chief of party of the University of Wisconsin?s Land Tenure Center programs in Chile for four years. Governments around the globe sought his expertise on land reform, taxation, public finance and international trade. Later the new government of South Africa sought his assistance in property resolution matters, and he was a member of a World Bank team working on rural questions with China. In 1996 he received a special commendation from the U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua for his work in resolving property disputes and compensation, helping the highly polarized country reunite and enabling it to reenter the international financial markets, as well as advising former President Carter on his visits which dealt specifically with the property issue. In 1999, he received the McCain/Fulbright Distinguished Faculty Chair in Property Systems at the Centre of Property Studies, University of New Brunswick. In 2003, the Inter-American achievements of the 60 individuals and institutions which have enriched agriculture across the Americas, citing John for these activities and his work with the UW Land Tenure Center and later directorship of the UW?s Center for Development, which serves the mid-career educational needs of development staff from around the world. In Wisconsin, he had also been active in environmental issues and mining legislation questions. John is survived by his wife, Anne. He was the loving father of Mary, Kenneth, Susan, Patricia and Elizabeth; and the loving grandfather of Matthew, Robin, Peter, Julie, Chrissy, Andy, Davy, Sohrab, Simin and Saeid. A Memorial Service will be held at BETHANY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 3910 Mineral Point Road, Madison on Saturday, July 21, 2007, at 2 p.m., with visitation from 1 p.m. until the time of service. A gathering in memory of his life will be held at a later time to be determined. Cress Funeral & Cremation Service 3610 Speedway Road (608) 238-3434