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Roger Strange, long time pharmacist, dies
Roger Weihe Strange, the town pharmacist for four decades and one of the masterminds of the 1961 Paint Up Day that resulted in murals being painted on downtown buildings that remain today, has died at age 81.

Mr. Strange passed away suddenly on Feb. 8 at Memorial Medical Center after a long illness.

For many years Strange was the man Ceres went to for the filling of prescriptions. He became a pharmacist, first working for town druggist Claude McKnight when it was located in the building standing at the northwest corner of Fourth and Lawrence. Strange bought out Ceres Drugs from McKnight and opened a new building on the same block in the 1960s.

"He was a great guy," said friend and neighbor Bob Caulton. "He was very dependable, hard working, honest person."

The Paint Up Day drew regional and national media attention. Strange and other leaders got Fuller Paint involved and Channel 13 in Sacramento sent down a film crew. The community effort was also highlighted in the Saturday Evening Post.

"Roger was one of the instigators of that," said Caulton. "It involved the schools, high school and the merchants. You name it - just about everybody in town was involved."

Strange was born June 30, 1928 in Oakland to Ian and Adelaide Strange, and moved to Antioch in 1942. He graduated as valedictorian from Antioch High School in 1946, where he met his future wife, Ruth Mahr. Roger attended U.C. Berkeley and graduated from the U.C. San Francisco School of Pharmacy in 1950. He worked for a while in Hanford and then married Ruth after she graduated from college. Not long after the wedding Roger joined the Army during the Korean War, and was placed in charge of the Pharmacy at Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco. He left the Army in 1953 and was hired by McKnight.

Strange was involved with pharmacies in Hughson and Ripon and retired in 1984.

He was always involved in his family and community. He was one of the original members of the Carroll Fowler Parents Club and was a long-time member of Ceres Lions Club and Tuolumne River Lodge. When his daughters were in Girl Scouts he assisted with activities. Mr. Strange was a charter member and elder of Harvest Presbyterian Church in Ceres, and belonged to the Ceres Historical Society and the American Legion. His professional affiliations included the California and American Pharmaceutical Associations, and the UC Alumni Association.

Passionate about travel, he was involved with the American Field Service for many years, and hosted a student, Anthy Karra, from Greece. He visited over 50 countries and all the states. In 1947 he bicycled through Europe with the American Youth Hostels. He was especially fond of Yosemite National Park where he volunteered for the Yosemite Association from 1997 to 2001.

Mourners bid farewell to Mr. Strange at a memorial service held Saturday at Harvest Presbyterian Church.

Besides Ruth, his loving wife of 58 years, survivors include his daughter, Cindy Zellman and son-in-law David Zellman of Modesto; his brother, Dr. David A. Strange of Petaluma; and three grandchildren, Matthew Zellman of Merced, Andrew Zellman of Seattle, Wash., and Rebecca Zellman of Modesto. He was preceded in death by daughter, Linda Helen Strange, and his parents.

Remembrances may be sent to the Linda Strange Campership Fund at Harvest Presbyterian Church, 1813 Moffet Rd., Ceres, CA 95307; or to the Myositis Association, 1737 King St., Suite 600, Alexandria, VA 22314.