Warren Strawsnyder, Humanitarian

Updated: Sep 30, 2019

One of Trinity's members, Warren Strawsnyder, was highlighted recently in his community's local news.


Warren Strawsnyder, beside the plaque at Handi-Crafters in Dorothy's and his honor.

The following article was written by Dick Wexelblat, resident of Freedom Village in Brandywine, PA just north of Coatesville.


Warren and his wife Dorothy were among the first residents of Freedom Village. Not only that but Warren even took part in the groundbreaking ceremony. A photo in the Daily Local News shows Warren and others brandishing shovels at the event.


In 1925 Warren was born in Quakertown, PA. While he was in High School his family moved to Bethlehem where he completed high school. Just after they moved into their home in Bethlehem, Warren found himself staring at a young woman sweeping the sidewalk of a house across the street. He informed his mother that he was going to marry that girl and, eventually, so he did. But World War II intervened. Warren went into the Navy and served four years in the Pacific. As a crew member on the Landing Craft, Infantry, USS LCI-1014, he took part in eleven invasions.


Warren signed up for a 2-year course in Salesmanship at a local Penn State Extension. He did so well that they asked him to stay on to teach the course the next time around. Salesmanship was his thing. He spent six years working for a local car dealership and then fund an almost defunct dealership for sale in Downingtown. He bought the agency, renamed it Warren Pontiac-Buick, brought it back to life and ran it for 37 years. Warren was also active in the Downingtown Chamber of Commerce and was president in 1964--5. In 1961 he was named their Citizen of the Year.


During WWII, Dorothy served as Executive Secretary to the general manager of St. Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem. Later, she was executive secretary for 20 years at her husband's car dealership, retiring in 1985. When Dorothy passed away on December 12, 2014, the Strawsnyders had been married for 68 years.


They had two children, a son Robert and a daughter Janet. Robert was born with Down Syndrome and lived with his parents for his first 33 years. The Strawsnyders were committee members of the Association for Retarded Citizens, now known as The Arc. Daughter Janet is active with the Piedmont Chapter of The Arc in Charlottesville, VA, and chaired it for a while. When it became clear to them that more could and should be done for people with disabilities, the Strawsnyders joined with other parents to create Handi-Crafters, now the largest employment and disability support service program in Southeast Pennsylvania.


Handi-Crafters website notes: "Over 50 years ago, a dedicated group of parents gathered with a vision. That vision became the mission to give individuals with special needs a purpose... providing meaningful work was their answer! The vision, home and passion of those parents is the cornerstone of what we do today at Handi-Crafters."


(read more at Handi-Crafters)


In Handi-Crafters 2014-2015 Annual Report, the Executive Director noted, "Earlier this year I had the privilege of spending some time with one of Handi-Crafters founders, Warren Strawsnyder. During our conversation I commented that Mr. Strawsnyder must be so proud to know that because of his vision so many people have been helped. He looked at me with sad eyes and said, 'but there are so many more people who need help'." Of course, Dorothy shared credit with Warren for founding Handi-Crafters. Her work there was a major part of her life. We consider Warren and Dorothy true humanitarians.

© 2019 Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA)

2170 Route 212, Coopersburg, PA 18036-9770

610.346.7282 or office@trinitypv.org

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