Anton (Tony) Strasser, age 86, of Alexandria, MN passed away peacefully at his home on March 7, 2022.
Tony was born in Cabuna, Yugoslavia, the son of Michael and Anna (Gross) Strasser on March 13, 1935. Tony‘s father died before his birth. When he was three, Tony‘s mother married John Aschenbrenner. As a young child during WWII, he immigrated with his family to Frankenburg, Austria, where he completed high school. At the age of 17, Tony and his parents immigrated to the United States in 1951, sponsored by the National Catholic Welfare Conference, and being sent to Duluth, MN. The family started their new life, working and living at St. John‘s Orphanage. After a time, Tony got a job with the University on Minnesota Northeast Experiment Station doing agricultural research. It was in Duluth that Tony met the love of his life, Maria (Mary) Fischer. They were married on July 14, 1956, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Duluth. To this union, two children were born, Caroline (Cari) and Paul. Tony enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1957, wishing to serve the new country that he loved even before becoming a US citizen. He flew home from Fort Carson, Colorado, to become a citizen in September of 1957.
In 1961, Tony accepted a job transfer to the newly founded U of M Southwest Experiment Station in Lamberton, MN, where he worked for 43 years, retiring as a senior agriculture research coordinator. He was also very civic minded, always wanting the best for his community. As a Lions Club member, he was instrumental in the building of the local swimming pool, where his children and grandchildren spent many happy hours. He went on to serve Lions International as the District Governor of District 5M5. In 1994, Tony was given the Melvin Jones Award, the highest honor in Lions International. Tony also spearheaded the building of Valley View Manor Nursing Home, serving as chairman of the board. He went on to serve as mayor of Lamberton for five years. Tony‘s faith was also very important to him. He was an active member of St. Joseph‘s Catholic Church, where he sang in the choir, was a CCD teacher, ushered, and was on the parish council. He was awarded the Bishop‘s Medal of Honor in 1998 in the New Ulm Diocese. Tony‘s family meant everything to him. He loved spending time with Mary, their children and spouses and grandchildren at the family cabin on Lake Victoria, Alexandria, making countless happy memories. He also loved traveling across the country and internationally to visit family and friends.
In 2004, Tony and Mary moved permanently to their home on Lake Victoria. They immediately joined St. Mary‘s Catholic Church, where Tony was an usher, greeter and helped with hospitality for untold numbers of funeral masses. He also joined the Golden Age and Runesone Lions Clubs, and then the Forada Lions Club. Precious to Tony were the many wonderful friends he made in their Lake Victoria neighborhood as well as at church and in Lions. Many remember Tony for his smile and how he cared for people. His family will remember him as a loving husband, father, and a proud grandfather and great grandfather.
Tony is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary; daughter Cari and her husband Dave, son Paul and his wife Patty; grandchildren Mathew Wilder, John and his wife Kristina Wilder, Sarah Jones, and Sister Anne Therese Wilder, O.P.; and great grandchildren Brigid, Maximilian and Dominic Wilder and John Paul and Anthony Jones; nieces, nephews, cousins and many cherished friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents Michael Strasser and Anna and John Aschenbrenner, sister Sophie Ibriks and her husband John; brother Joseph and his wife Helen, brother Michael and his wife Louise; father-in-law and mother-in-law John and Helen Fischer; brother-in-law Josef Milleker and his wife Angela; several nephews and a niece.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, March 13, 2022, 3:00 – 6:00 PM at the Anderson Funeral Home with a Parish Prayer Service at 3:00 PM. Visitation will continue on Monday, March 14, 2022, 10:00 – 11:00 AM at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alexandria with a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery in Duluth, MN. Service will be live streamed for those unable to attend.