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1960 William 2024

William Strugala

October 21, 1960 — February 18, 2024

William Andrew Strugala, known as "Billy", passed away peacefully at his residence in Oakdale, Minnesota on February 18, 2024. Billy was 63 years of age.


Billy was preceded in death by his devoted parents, whom he deeply missed, Edward "Pop" Strugala and Caroline "Ma" Strugala (nee Heifort); dear friend, Amy Boettcher; and cherished dog, Barney. Billy is survived by his 'tough love' sister, Janet Strugala and her more tolerant partner, Anthony Ketcham; favorite uncle, Kenny Heifort and his wife Geri; beloved cousins, Tina Heifort and her husband Nanda Gopal, Chantelle Heifort-Adams and her husband Roy Adams, and Kendra Heifort; loyal friends, James Beavers and his wife Michelle; true friend, Debbie Einck; family friend, Cindy Polzin; sensible friend, Fred Ziemer; longtime friend, Kenny Cunningham; and many more good friends and extended family members.


Billy was born at a U.S. Army hospital, on a U.S. Army base located in the Missouri Ozarks at 7:44 a.m., on Friday the 21st day of October 1960. Billy was brought home and welcomed by two loving, caring parents and a 16 month old (almost), indignant, green-eyed monster, who happened to be his sister. And so it began for Mom, as she already had an inkling that Billy was going to be a "busy one" because when she harkened back to times while he was still in her womb, she said, "it felt like he was doing somersaults".


Army brats is a reference to children of a career soldier, especially when they have lived in various places as a result of military transfers. Billy had already started living up to that name - Army Brat. After another move to another Army base - Fort Devens, Massachusetts - we moved back to Stillwater, Minnesota in 1966 with our first family dog, a boy Beagle, who would soon become boy Beagle plus girl Poodle. Mom and Dad bought a house, and then the best part was when Billy and his sister Janet would both get to claim their own bedrooms and get to help decorate them... of course with help from Mom. Billy and sister Janet would imagine living in this house forever and ever. No more moves, except for Dad, who almost immediately after getting to Stillwater and then signing to buy the house, was deployed to Vietnam for a whole year... a long time in the life of a child. Billy would swiftly fall in love with Stillwater and everything it had to offer. Stillwater provided to a very busy, young Billy, dirt roads that when after it rained turned them into muddy roads, so as to make it way more fun to play with his toy Tonka trucks and Matchbox cars; to providing fields of tall grasses with trails leading to a place with tall, steep hills called the 'Honda Jumps'. The Honda Jumps, where mostly kids would go, so they could either watch the action or ride their bikes down the steep hills on the treacherous dirt paths to see who could make it down to the bottom of the hill without losing control of the bike and crashing. Cool! For busy Billy, this was an amazing time of his life; it was his version of Halcyon Days. From a young age, Billy's vibrant personality shone through. But, Army Brat was starting to transform into Mischief Maker, and Billy was a natural with finding others of his kind to run with. The more the merrier! Mom had nary a dull moment with Billy. But, there was hope - a different side of him would appear from time to time, such as selfless, generous, kind. An early display of his selfless character was when he bravely offered to take the punishment meant for his sister Janet because he heard her crying, showcasing his caring nature from the start.


Billy graduated from Stillwater High School. Later on Billy continued his education and got his welding certificate. He found his passion in welding. It wasn't just a career for him; it was a calling. He often mentioned that being a welder was his favorite job. Among Billy's proudest accomplishments was mastering the craft of welding, a skill that filled him with immense satisfaction and pride throughout his life.


Apart from welding, Billy found joy in cars - mostly Ford Mustangs, of which he owned "a few". His favorite music was the rock music of the 70's and 80's - of course, at volume 11; this is the volume level that sometimes gets the attention of the neighbors and then usually the police. And, his love for dogs would last forever; particularly his beloved Cocker Spaniel, Barney, who brought out the best in him.


Billy was a people person and could be described as one who always sought companionship and thrived in the company of others. His energetic spirit led him to amuse, or to annoy, those around him with playful mischief alongside his partners in crime. Despite any mischievous deeds, he possessed a heart of gold and was known for his charitable acts and generosity towards others.


In our memories of Billy we hold onto the image of a kind-hearted, but also a troubled soul who touched the lives of those around him with gratitude and generosity. May he rest in peace knowing that his spirit lives on in the hearts of those who knew him. Billy will be cremated. There will be no funeral service. However, we invite you to privately celebrate Billy's memory in your own ways. We know if there is a party celebrating him, Billy will be there in spirit! Toast to Billy!!!

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