Local family’s story resembles a real American tale

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 1, 2003

Terry Johnson Striedieck was born in Camden, N.J., permanent address for her military family. &uot;My mother was from Camden; in fact, the same doctor who delivered me delivered my daughter Julie Hunter,&uot; she explains.

Her father, Jack Ross Johnson, was stationed with the Navy in Philadelphia during World War II and assigned to a destroyer escort. &uot;Those DE’s, he used to tell us, dance around all the ships and protect them from torpedoes.&uot;

Her father’s homeport was Norfolk, a town where signs read &uot;Sailors and dogs keep off the grass,&uot; so Striedieck says, laughing as she tells it. But he also taught in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Portsmouth, Va., so her Thanksgivings were often spent with family members, depending upon her father’s duty station.

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One of Striedieck’s favorite memories is that of Thanksgivings at the home of her Texas grandmother Magnolia Johnson, &uot;who always hosted big barbecues.&uot;

When her mother visits at Thanksgiving, Striedieck makes both kinds. She also learned to enjoy and to prepare Pennsylvania Dutch holiday dishes. &uot;The cranberry bogs in New Jersey were wonderful; we grew up watching the way they were raked in from the water at harvest time. So, every year no matter where we are, we have a dish made from fresh cranberries, apples, oranges and sugar,&uot; she says.

When the family assembles for Thanksgiving or Christmas, they make a crowd. Striedieck’s husband Fred, who is a local contractor, has two daughters, a son and eight grandchildren. Terry Striedieck has her daughter Julie and a grandson.

Terry Striedieck came to Selma in 1978 when her former husband was transferred here. Fred Striedieck moved here as manager of a local plant. The two were married in 1981 and combined their families and backgrounds.

Fred was born in Michigan, grew up in State College, Pennsylvania where his father was a professor of Germanic languages. The elder Striedieck came to Nebraska from Germany and was apprenticed at the age of 14 as a shoemaker. When his apprenticeship was over he went to Chicago, then entered the University of Michigan and completed his education. Fred Striedieck’s mother was from Coldwater, Mich., one of eight children.

His father died when they were young and his mother took over his insurance business and ran it successfully, even in those days when women had jobs but few had careers.

Terry Striedieck, as do many American women today, combines homemaking and work. Initially, she was in purchasing at the Vaughan Hospital and after the changes there she working in advertising at The Times-Journal.

Her &uot;most interesting&uot; job was running the Humane Society’s animal shelter for a time, but the work also &uot;hurts your heart,&uot; she says.

Now, she has answered her contractor husband’s call for help and taken over the business office. A volunteer at the Old Depot Museum, she has recently answered another call for help and joined its board of trustees.

The Striediecks are also involved in building a home on the Alabama River. &uot;We have to work on it after the annual Battle of Selma Reenactment (in which Fred is involved), and before hunting season, which is another of his prime interests. So from May to November we have a chance to work on the house, which is quite large.&uot;

The restoration of old homes and buildings is one of the Striedieck interests in common. &uot;Fred likes the elaborate hand-trimmed details, the high ceilings, all the intricate architectural features,&uot; she explains. &uot;And they take time to do.&uot;

Striedieck stabilized the last remaining Confederate Naval Foundry building. And in a more modern update, donated time, material and labor to the Brown YMCA, when it needed help. The Striediecks find time to be an interesting and supportive part of this community, which they call home.