Pioneer doctor dies

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, May 3, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - A well-respected leader in the Niles medical community has died.
John W. Strayer, M.D. died Tuesday afternoon following an extended illness. He was 91.
Dr. Strayer served as Niles' first board-certified surgeon, as chief of staff at the former Pawating Hospital - now Lakeland Hospital - and as president of the Berrien County Medical Society.
Dr. Strayer also practiced general surgery for nearly 50 years at the Niles Medical Center on Grant Street. He helped form the clinic in 1955 with other area physicians Dr. Noel Hershey, Dr. Robert Holt, Dr. Fred Henderson and Dr. Robert L. Landgraf.
Dr. Landgraf, who worked as pediatrician at the Niles Medical Center, said the death of Dr. Strayer is a loss for the whole Niles community.
Dr. Robert Landgraf's son, Dr. John Landgraf, is currently on staff at Lakeland Hospital in Niles. Dr. John Landgraf said the group of physicians including his father and Dr. Strayer were extremely committed to providing the best medical care for their community.
Dr. Strayer was president of his 1932 graduating class at Buchanan High School and earned two degrees from the University of Michigan. He first graduated In 1940 with a Doctor of Medicine degree.
Dr. Strayer then served during World War II as a Captain Flight Surgeon in the U.S. Army. He would return to Ann Arbor after the war and in 1949 earned the Master of Surgery. Dr. Strayer returned to the Niles-Buchanan area shortly after earning his second degree.
He leaves behind his wife, “Ginny” and two daughters, Kathy Rossow, former director of the Volunteer Center and Anne Comer and a son, “Jack” Strayer of Virginia.