Leon Charles Strom, 81 years of age and of rural Toppenish, Washington answered the Lord’s beckoning while in his home September 2, 2020.
He was born September 20, 1938 in a Hoquiam, Washington community center to Theodore L. Sr. and Lillian (Settler) Strom.
Leon is a member of the Quinault Nation. Creator will recognize him by his Native names, Wahleilock and Scowa. The latter given to him by his grandmother and he said he knew he was in trouble when she called him by that name.
He graduated from Moclips (Washington) High School in 1957. His early work ethic had him earning money by clam digging in order to be dressed well.
After high school, Leon went to work at the Cleve Jackson Lumber Mill before enlisting into the U.S. Navy.
After an honorable discharge, he returned to Taholah, Washington to become a sanitarian for the Indian Health Service until 1962.
From 1962-1967, he was the Quinault Tribal Recreation Director where he instructed baseball, women’s softball, boxing and especially youth sports.
He also held various jobs, including with Shakey Meat Packaging, at the Mt. Adams Furniture Factory, and as a Yakama Tribal Police Dispatcher in 1968.
On August 2, 1960, Leon married Harriet Washines in Taholah, Wash. with Indian Shaker Church Bishop Horton Capoeman performing the ceremony.
Leon became an Indian Shaker Church member in 1966 – a month-long process at that time where Shaker congregations came from all over, even Satus Shaker Church members.
He was elected and proudly served as Satus Shaker Church Treasurer, a Indian Shaker Church of Washington State Board Elder four different times, was a Indian Shaker Church Traveling Missionary and one term as the Indian Shaker Church Bishop.
Leon’s devotion, dedication and discipline for the Indian Shaker faith left many profound teaching and learning lessons for the people who had a chance to hear him speak at the Satus Shaker Church and other Shaker Churches – especially the youth. He was so proud of the Satus Bunch start up the Satus Shaker Church Youth Group to handle such church activities like Halloween, Easter, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and countless birthdays, feasts, and fund raising events.
After his higher education years, he began coordinating the efforts to raise money needed to build a new Satus Shaker Church and Dining Hall. Leon continued to see to many building upgrades and kitchen equipment replacement efforts for the church.
He completed Yakima Valley Community College in 1970. He transferred to Central Washington University, earning is Bachelors of Arts in Physical Education in 1973. Leon earned his Masters of Education Degree from Ft. Wright College, which is currently Heritage University of Toppenish, Wash.
Leon’s public school teaching career started at Granger, Wash. While there, he was a physical education teacher, coached wrestling and football.
His teaching career moved him to Toppenish High School in 1977, where he was a counselor and a high school sports coach in girl’s softball, boy’s baseball and basketball. Leon regarded one of his greatest accomplishments was to have coached his eldest son in high school football and wrestling, his daughter in basketball and softball and his youngest son in baseball and basketball.
Leon also worked for the Muckleshoot Tribal School as its Principal, taught at Quileute Tribal School and coached basketball, at Chief Leschi School, was the Administrator and Superintendent of the Taholah Tribal School from 1997 to 1999, and at the Yakama Nation Tribal School as its Administrator and Superintendent and was the girl’s fastpitch coach.
He served on the Washington State Indian Education Advisory Board for 6 years, serving as its chairman for 2 years. He was one of the people behind the start of the Washington Indian Education Association and served as its treasurer for 2 years.
He was also a member of the Toppenish Kiwanis and the Granger JC’s.
He played basketball with William F. Yallup Sr. on the Toppenish Papooses team and baseball with Rudy Saluskin Sr.
He coached women’s fastpitch and slowpitch, girls’ fastpitch, and boys’ Babe Ruth Baseball.
Leon and his younger brother started the Scalper’s softball teams, first in fastpitch and playing on Yakima’s Dunbar Field. Later the team became a men’s slowpitch team, which had many players on the team that played in Yakima men’s leagues, local tribal leagues, and tournaments throughout the Pacific Northwest.
He ran the Yakama National Invitational Men’s, Women’s, and Co-Ed softball tournaments, which were played in Yakima and the Tri-Cities. The event grew to include a youth baseball tournament.
He took his women’s softball team to numerous tournaments in Nevada, California and throughout the Pacific Northwest. He also got them to play in Hawaii.
His wife of 61 years, Harriet Strom, his sisters, Sheila Strom and Phyllis Strom, his daughter, Michelle “Mikki” (Maurice) Brice, his son, Jeffrey Strom, his grandchildren, Steven Strom, Darian Arquette (Isiah Ellenwood), Jonet Arquette (Landon Smartlowit), Cecilia (Jalon) Greene, Lianna Wheeler, Aubrey (Stacey) Strom, his grandchildren, James Brice, Elijah Brice, Travis Arbuckle, Cameron Strom, Steven Strom Jr., Jasper Arquette, Leveyah Ellenwood, Isiah Ellenwood II, Jax Tristan Ellenwood, Matthew Smartlowit, Kayce Smartlowit, Jalon Greene Jr., Rowland Greene, Amiyah Greene, Amarillo George, Julian “Barney” Wheeler, Kayden Strom, D’Lontae Strom, Hunter Strom, Pearl Strom, Stellan Strom, Harkan McGuire, his sisters, Doris Peters, Deanna (Miguel) Juarez, and Angeline Phillips, his brothers, Tony (Myrna) Washines, Archie (Stella) Washines, Ronnie (Bonnie) Washines, Davis (Carman) Washines, and E. Arlen (Tabitha) Washines, Joanna Meninick, his numerous nieces and nephews of the Strom, Shike and Tomaskin families, along with their children and grandchildren, his LaPush nieces, nephews and grandchildren, his students he loved teaching and coaching, his numerous relatives from Taholah and Canada, all survive Leon Strom.
His son, Rommel Strom, his parents, Theodore Sr. and Lillian Strom, his brothers, Ted Strom Jr., Larry Strom, and Donald “Ducks” Strom, his maternal grandparents, Joe and Julia Settler, his paternal grandparents, Charlie and Florence Strom, Daniel Strom, Aubrey Strom, Hazel Smith, Homer Settler, William Settler, Alvin Settler, Jimmy Strom, infant siblings Jeremy Strom and Linda Strom, his mother-in-law, Lena M. Phillips, his aunt, Hazel E. Watlamet, Jasper Washines, Clifford (Washines) Cassesseka, William “Dobey” Meninick, Raymond “Jimmy” Watlamet, Leonard Tomaskin Sr., Anonna Shike Bertram, Lorraine Shike-Lawrence, James Shike Sr., Raymond Shike Sr., all preceded Leon in death.
His Dressing Service took place September 4, 2020 in Heggie’s Colonial Funeral Home before being taken to the Satus Shaker Church for a Garment Service and then for burial services in the Satus Point Cemetery. Officiating were Jimmy Tyler and Anthony Washines. Pallbearers included Adam Strom, Steven Strom, Greg Strom, Charlie Strom, Asa Washines, John Washines and Ed Johnson.
Heggie’s Colonial Funeral Home of Toppenish, Wash. assisted the family with the funeral arrangements.