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Barbara Palmer, News Service: (650) 724-6184,

Alan Strain dead at 79

Alan Strain, a former assistant dean of student affairs known for his commitment to social justice, died of congestive heart failure on Aug. 26 at his home in Santa Cruz. He was 79.

Strain worked on campus in student affairs during the 1970s, including serving as a draft counselor and interim assistant dean for Native American affairs. During his tenure at Stanford, Strain helped create the Native American Cultural Center and organize the Stanford Powwow, helped found Synergy cooperative house and was at or near the center of student initiatives to serve communities beyond the campus boundaries, said Jim Lyons, dean emeritus of student affairs, who worked with Strain.

Strain anchored an important era at Stanford, Lyons said. "Alan had those rare magical qualities that enriched the lives of students and colleagues. He had special qualities of person, principle, social mission and compassion and was a master teacher in the informal curriculum of student affairs. His work bears fruits even today -- 30 years later."

In 1975, Strain was awarded the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding service to undergraduate education.

Strain was born on April 30, 1924, in Fairfield, Idaho, and moved to Southern California in 1935. During World War II, he was a conscientious objector and served alternative service at a ranch for boys in the San Fernando Valley. After earning a bachelor's degree in psychology at Stanford in 1947 and attending graduate school at the School of Education, Strain taught school in Woodside and taught and served as principal at Peninsula School in Menlo Park. He was a founder of Pacific High School, an alternative school that operated near Los Gatos.

Strain is survived by his wife, Rosalie Pizzo Strain, of Santa Cruz; two brothers, Douglas Strain of Portland, Ore., and Robert Strain of Indianapolis, Ind.; sons David Strain and Larry Strain of Berkeley, Calif.; a daughter, Laurie Friedman of Davis, Calif.; and 16 grandchildren.

A memorial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Santa Cruz Friends Meeting House at 220 Rooney St. in Santa Cruz.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Santa Cruz Friends Meeting Building Fund, 220 Rooney St., Santa Cruz, CA 95065, or the Stroke Center, 501 Upper Park Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95065.



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