Leo Joseph “Bud” Strickenberger, formerly of Oil City and Reno, entered eternal resting on June 15, 2022.
Born September 8, 1963, Leo was the son of the late Ken & Helen Groner Strickenberger. When Leo was born, Ken and Helen were told his extra chromosome(Down Syndrome) could limit his potential in life. That extra chromosome, however, never limited Leo. In fact, it provided so much more “extra” than just a chromosome. Anyone who met Leo over his 58 years, could attest to the “extra”-extra love, extra compassion, extra happiness-he brought into their lives.
Leo attended intermediate Unit 6 in Oil City, where he was the first ever graduate of the program. He went on to work for the Venango Training & Development Center for more than 30 years. Here, he looked forward to his two(okay, sometimes more) daily visits to the vending machine, and boasted about his weekly paycheck to anyone who'd hear it.
Leo loved to watch TV shows and movies, and immersed himself in their stories and songs. It wasn't uncommon to hear him belting out a theme song, like “Green Acres in the Place to Be” or the melodic “AH-ah-ah” that begins the Full House theme song. You could catch him chatting about Star Trek, role playing Power Rangers scenes, or swimming freely in a pool pretending to be Free Willy. Leo also loved to watch professional wrestling and play video games.
No stranger to the dance floor, Leo could bust a move like no other at a family wedding or anywhere else music played. You might find him chanting “Who Let the Dogs Out? Along with music or channeling his inner Patrick Swayze for “Time of My Life.”
Leo was active for may years in the Special Olympics, competing in bowling, swimming and horseback riding. He loved camping with his family in Cooks Forest and vacations to Disney World. He enjoyed participating in camping programs at Camp Lend a Hand and Lions Club “Big Uncle Day” fishing programs.
Leo's other interests included, his birthday where he could 'pass the hat' at Uncle Ben's picnics, Diet Coke, snacks, dogs, collecting pens, word search puzzles and above all-other people.
Leo always greeted those he knew- and often those he didn't-with an excited “Hey”! If you were lucky, he'd give you the best hug you've ever felt and maybe a sloppy kiss. Often, Leo endearingly proposed marriage to the ladies he knew and those just met. Leo's love knew no bounds.
Sisters Mary Kay(Daryl) McKinney of Franklin and Patty (Frank) Licata of Erie survive Leo. He was the proudest uncle of five nieces-Stacey(John) Gardner, Christy McKinney, Julie(Chris)Miller; and Stephany and Gabby Licata. He had three great nephews and a great niece. Leo is also survived by several aunts including-Freda Schwabenbauer, Germaine Schill, Pat Strickenberger, Jane(Chuck) Wright, Jude Groner, and Jean Marie Shaffer.
He is fondly remembered by many loving cousins and extended family members.
Leo lived nearly 50 of his years with his parents, and upon their aging and passing, entered an Easter Seals Residential Care facility in Cranberry. There he lived fro 9 years, alongside two roommates, Rick and John, while under the care and guidance of a special group of employees who became a second family. Leo's family extends their gratitude to the unit for their loving care, especially Pam, Mark, and Rick. As Leo's illnesses accelerated a year ago, he entered Erie Homes for Children and Adults, which provided exemplary care and compassion for Leo as well. The family also expresses gratitude to all their employees who cared for Leo, especially when his day to day needs had greatly increased.
Friends and family will be received from 2-4 and from 7-9 P.M. Sunday June 19 in the Reinsel Funeral Home.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 A.M. Monday in St. Stephen's Church with Leo's cousin Fr. Matthew Strickenberger presiding.
Interment will be in Sunset Hill Memorial Gardens.
Memorials may be made to Easter Seals of Venango County or Erie Homes for Children and Adults.
Condolences may be sent at www.reinselfuneralhome.com
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