Marti Joe Strzelecki
August 30, 1946 ‒ October 21, 2020
On October 21, 2020, God wrapped His arms around our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Marti Joe Strzelecki, and brought him home as he saw our patriarch growing tired from injuries sustained from an automobile accident.
Marti’s life story began on August 30, 1946 in Marion, Ohio. The only son of Joseph Casper & Dorothy Elizabeth (McPeek), Marti was born into a most loving home that centered on love, patriotism, and hard work. His father proudly defended his country as he stormed the beaches of Normandy, while his mother held strong and devoted herself to being the best mother & wife she could possibly be. As a family of three, they worshipped together at St. Mary Catholic Church; instilling in Marti the importance of having a servant’s heart. Marti was very much a hometown boy; graduating from Ridgedale High School in 1964.
Patriotism was a focal point for the Strzelecki home; they honored the red, white, and blue and never forgot the sacrifices many of our soldiers made throughout our country’s history. Upon being drafted by the US Army into the Vietnam War, Marti made defending this country his life mission. Stationed in the Panama Canal, he served as a supply sergeant until his honorable discharge in December, 1967.
Returning to civilian life after the Vietnam War, Marti started working as a mechanic at Danner Buick. During his time here, Marti’s ingenuitive aspirations ignited, and it was then he partnered with his friend, Kenny Thibaut. Together, in 1975, they decided to go into business for themselves; starting Marion Auto Service Inc., an auto repair shop on N. Main St. As Marti continued to run the auto repair shop, his entrepreneurial ambitions continued to grow in starting the Marion Auto Sales business, which he later rented out to Ted Elsey in 1982. Later on, Marti bought out his partner from the repair shop, and continued to run it for 36 years. Always prioritizing family above anything else, Marti closed his shop in 2011 upon his wife, Linda’s, cancer diagnosis. Witnessing the devotion and unconditional love his parents had for one another, he applied the same sentiments to his own marriage; coming home to care for his wife. Upon receiving the news of Linda’s remission, Marti realized retirement didn’t suit him very well, so he drove bus for the Marion Area Transit for 7 years; retiring again in 2019. During his time as a bus driver, he made many lasting relationships with work colleagues and passengers; always looking forward to the next potluck at work and making sure Linda fixed the best dish to bring. As the neighborhood auto mechanic and city bus driver, Marti knew no stranger; he made friends wherever he went. It was through Marti’s servant heart that the people of Marion found loyalty, kindness, and honesty.
1975 became a monumental year for Marti. In addition to starting his businesses, he was introduced to his future wife, Linda Irvine, through mutual friends. Growing up, Marti’s parents’s marriage served as a testament to what he was looking for in a marriage. So in meeting Linda, he knew she exemplified every quality he had ever wanted and needed in a wife. Not willing to let her slip away, Marti did the quickest thing he had ever done and after a year and a half of dating, he married Linda on April 30, 1977 at Greenwood United Methodist Church. Together, they shared 43 years of marriage. They complimented each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They loved each other through sickness and health; sharing countless laughs and tears along their journey. No matter what happened in life, they knew they always had each other. The greatest testaments to their love are their sons, Kyle Christopher & Andrew Joseph “AJ.’
Marti shared a priceless relationship with each of his sons. Kyle inherited Marti’s Mr. Fix-It attitude; always coming up with a new project to do at home or in the garage. AJ inherited Marti’s knack for being able to make friends with anyone; never knowing a stranger and being able to carry on a conversation for an endless amount of time. Both boys shared a love for sports with their Dad. During the fall, Saturdays were for Buckeye football; either in the Shoe or vicariously coaching from the sidelines at home. Sundays were for the Browns; hoping that this was ‘their year.’ Throughout the year, they followed the Cleveland Indians. It was during these games that the boys bonded with their father; sharing in laughter, catching up on life, and just simply being together.
In his spare time, Marti enjoyed fishing and shooting guns on the range; he was a regular at the Marion County Fish and Game. He and Linda absolutely loved spending their weekends at Port Clinton & Catawba Island at her family’s cottage until Kyle & AJ became involved in sports. In recent years, Marti and Linda would take day trips with their beloved dogs, Bosley and Bear. For them, the water was their escape; their place to recollect themselves as husband & wife. Later on, they shared the same fondness of the water with their granddaughters; braving a weekend at Cedar Point with them. Marti also loved to tinker! Whether it be in the basement, the house, or the garage, Marti would find something with a motor to tinker. For many years, he tinkered on race cars; trying to get his Chevelle to go as far as he could on the LaRue and Norwalk Drag Strips.
In centering Christ in their family, Marti & Linda, became members of Epworth United Methodist Church in 1988. The Christmas Eve services were always a favorite for him; gathering his family in the same pew every Christmas Eve to sing Silent Night by candlelight. Marti selflessly gave back to his community as a longstanding member of the Ridgedale Lions Club, where he made many treasured relationships. In recent years, his oldest son, Kyle, joined him in membership; carpooling on Tuesdays for meetings and helping with their favorite event of the year, Nascar Night. Marti enjoyed relaxing and sharing a meal at the local VFW Post 7201, AmVets Post 138, and Elks Lodge 32, all of which he was a member at.
These last 8 years, Marti excitedly and lovingly took on the role of Pepaw. A man that greased his hands day in and day out at his garage now carefully held and adored his two precious granddaughters, Madolyn Elizabeth & Caroline Grace. From the time they were born to the last time he spent with them, he loved them, he cared for them, he protected them. Undoubtedly, they were his world. It is through them that his servant’s heart’s legacy will continue; Madolyn with Marti’s ingenuitive mindset and Caroline with Marti’s love for people. Because of Marti, they will know the true value of loyalty, patriotism, and hard work.
Left to cherish his memory are his beloved wife, Linda Strzelecki; two sons: Kyle (Alicia) Strzelecki, and Andrew Joseph “A.J.” Strzelecki; two adored granddaughters: Madolyn and Caroline Strzelecki. Also, his beloved canine friend, Beary, who stayed loyal and true to Marti until those final moments here on this Earth. Marti will be loved and missed by many extended family members as well as the countless friends he made throughout his 74 years of life.
Including his parents, Marti was preceded in death by his in-laws, Andrew Irvine , Erma (Irvine) Williams, and Edward Williams. Meeting Marti at the rainbow bridge with a tennis ball in his mouth was his good and faithful friend, Bosley.
His family will greet friends from 4 – 7 pm on Monday, October 26, 2020, at the Snyder Funeral Homes, DENZER Chapel, 360 E. Center St., Marion. Services honoring his life will be held at 10 am on Tuesday, at the Epworth United Methodist Church, 249 E. Center St., Marion. Burial with military honors provided by the Marion County United Veterans Council will follow in Marion Cemetery. Masks are required to attend his services.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Ridgedale Lions Club, 3103 Hillman Ford Rd, Morral, OH 43337.
Snyder Funeral Homes, Denzer Chapel, are honored to serve Marti’s family and your condolences may be expressed to them by visiting www.SnyderFuneralHomes.com.