Richard Chalmers Strain, known by his friends as Dick, died at his home in Poughkeepsie on April 4, 2020 at the age of 87.
While Dick’s family roots were in Poughkeepsie, he was born in Mt. Vernon, NY on September 17, 1932, to Chalmer and Mildred Strain. Shortly thereafter the family returned to Poughkeepsie where Dick lived for the rest of his life.
Dick attended Clinton School, then spent two years at Poughkeepsie High School and graduated from Philips Exeter in 1950. After receiving the MVP in baseball for his accurate pitching that led to a key Exeter victory over the Yale JV Baseball team, Dick attended Yale University as an engineering student. He graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering in 1954 and a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration in 1955.
Following graduation from Yale, Dick worked for his father, at C.B. Strain & Son, then located in the City of Poughkeepsie. He married a Vassar girl, Anne Parks, in 1958 and together they had four children. Dick took over as President of the company at his father’s death in 1975. He became CEO when his daughter, Karen, took over as President in 2009, and remained until the sale of the business in 2012.
In addition to his pitching success in high school, Dick was an accomplished tennis player, having won the Poughkeepsie Tennis Club Men’s Singles Championship a record 13 times over a 15 year period. Though he rarely lost, he wanted to ensure his opponent had a good match. Dick had an uncanny ability to win matches 7-5, 7-5.
Dick was an avid fly fisherman. Starting with trips with his father to Canada, Dick traveled around the world in search of the perfect fishing stream. His favorite destination was Iceland, though enjoyed fishing in other parts of the world including Argentina, Alaska, Russia, Canada, the Bahamas and so many others. Dick loved to bring people along to share in the joys of both fishing and meeting new people. He also had a regular golf group that hit the links in Ireland, Scotland, Florida and beyond. There may have been more talk than golf but they always had a good time.
Dick served on a number of boards and has been a strong supporter of innumerable local charities throughout his life. Dick won an award in 1995 from the former Dutchess County Arts Council (now Arts Mid-Hudson) for his support of local artists when he furnished his new office building with artwork exclusively from Dutchess County artists. Dick became an important supporter of the Woodstock School of Art, introduced by his then long time and talented artist companion, Eva van Rijn.
Dick was a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley. And Dick became associated with the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley back when it was called the Area Fund as a way to support local programs anonymously. He and Karen were honored by the Foundations in 2015. Dick was well known for being an anonymous donor, so really, we’ll never quite know all that he supported.
Dick was always a staunch supporter of the City of Poughkeepsie and he gave back to the community in numerous ways, both through C.B. Strain and independently. He was very proud of refurbishing the Corlies Manor apartment complex in the City of Poughkeepsie.
Dick is survived by his four children and eight grandchildren: Teddy Mulrow, her husband Bill, and their children Kelly, Jennifer & Jack; Karen Smythe, her husband Nevill and their children Ryan & Denison; Linda Hillery, her husband Matt and their children Daniel, Margaret & Katherine; and John Strain and his partner Richard Martin; his ex-wife Anne Strain; his former companion Eva van Rijn and his final companion Nancy Rubsam, along with many friends both locally and around the world.
A Memorial Service will be held at a later date, when we can gather and share our favorite stories about Dick. In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring Dick with an “anonymous” donation to your favorite charity.
A private family burial will take place at the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the Wm G. Miller & Son Funeral Home. If you wish to send an online condolence, please visit the website at www.wmgmillerfuneralhome.com.