Howard J. Strott, 83, city school principal


Howard J. Strott, a retired Baltimore public school principal, wildfowl woodcarver and father of a dozen children, died of heart failure Thursday at St. Agnes HealthCare. He was 83.

Born and raised in Homeland, Mr. Strott was a 1938 graduate of Loyola High School. He interrupted his college studies at the Johns Hopkins University in 1941 to enlist in the Army Air Corps, and became an aviation instrument instructor.

After his discharge, Mr. Strott earned a bachelor's degree in 1945 from Loyola College and a master's in American history from St. Louis University in 1947. After studying at the National University in Santiago, Chile, and owning and operating a restaurant there, he returned to Baltimore in 1949 and began teaching history at Harbor View Elementary School in Brooklyn.

He was promoted to assistant principal at the old Lake Montebello Elementary School and later was principal of Guilford and Oliver Cromwell elementary schools. He was principal of William Paca Elementary at his retirement in 1981.

Mr. Strott was married for 59 years to the former Catharine Buchness. The couple had lived in Homeland for more than 50 years, and moved to Catonsville in 2002.

"The raising of his 12 offspring was perhaps his biggest challenge. After dealing with children all day, he returned home to the task of feeding, tutoring and refereeing his own, and he did so with infinite good humor," said a daughter, Catherine S. Holewinski of Pasadena.

"When things got chaotic, he restored order by cracking against a door frame the 'Board of Education' paddle he once received as a gag gift," his daughter said.

A self-taught carpenter, Mr. Strott built a vacation home in Lusby with surplus materials he purchased from Fort Meade. His wildfowl carvings earned him many awards, family members said.

He enjoyed singing with the Baltimore Men's Chorus and researching and writing about his Irish roots.

"He possessed a scholar's mind, a soldier's courage and a child's heart, and related to all age and social groups," Mrs. Holewinski said.

Mr. Strott was a communicant of St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church, 5500 York Road, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Strott is survived by seven sons, John H. Strott of Titusville, Fla., Timothy J. Strott, Michael T. Strott, Christopher F. Strott and Damian A. Strott, all of Baltimore, W. Anthony Strott of Salisbury and Matthew P. Strott of Railroad, Pa.; and four other daughters, Valerie S. Wesley and Susan S. Lyons, both of Baltimore, Martha S. Post of Lusby and Nancy S. Schultz of Pasadena.

Survivors also include four brothers, J. William Strott of Summit, N.J., Thomas B. Strott of Dunwoody, Ga., Robert R. Strott of Stevensville and James C. Strott of Baltimore; a sister, Mary S. Gunning of Baltimore; 25 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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