Cover photo for Jack A. Strellis's Obituary
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1944 Jack 2024

Jack A. Strellis

July 5, 1944 — March 4, 2024

Waterloo, IL

Jack A. Strellis, 79, of Waterloo, Illinois and Moran, Wyoming, died March 4, 2024, at his home in Waterloo. He was born in Chicago on July 5, 1944, to Lillian and Frank Shapiro. 

    As a youth, living in Austin, Illinois, he looked up to his older sisters Anne and Francis both for intellectual inspiration and athletic pursuits, including the Rainbow fleet sailing on Lake Michigan. He was an ambitious young man earning his Eagle Scout rank from the Chicago Council in 1958 and serving as the president of the student government at Austin High School. He also worked for the Chicago Park District and as a switchman for the railroad as a teenager.

    Jack graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign as a dual major in Physics and Chemistry in 1967. After graduation, he taught high school Physics at Crane High School in Chicago. He went on to earn his law degree at Loyola University, Chicago in 1971 and was admitted to the Illinois State Bar that year. He served as an Assistant US Attorney in East St. Louis from 1971-1975 within the US Department of Justice before starting his own practice where he served his community for nearly 50 years. Jack was a member of and the legal advisor to the Waterloo Lions Club.

    At the time of his death, Jack was partners with his son Gregg at the firm he founded in 1992. Jack had the pleasure of working with his right-hand Laura Kinzinger (Roger) who survives him. The Strellis Firm’s lawyers, Amanda Chase (Josh), Elizabeth Gallagher, Carrie Cotter (Matt), Stephanie Weissman (Mark) all survive him and have had their lives enriched by Jack’s counsel and presence. Jack had great respect for his adversaries in litigation and fondly recalled their civility of zealous trial practice on behalf of their clients. Jack had a personal relationship with his clients and was honored to have been entrusted with their cases. Jack had the good fortune to have phenomenal partners and colleagues in his practice over his career, he cherished their time together.

    When not working, his happiest moments were spent in Wyoming navigating the Big Kahuna, sharing cherry sodas with his grandchildren, introducing the ultimate poker game Moran to the world, belly-laughing while whipping up a Dressel’s cake and playing double-play. In his many water adventures in Wyoming, he made special connections with those he loved by naming landmarks after them, including Owen’s Inlet Omelet, Liberty Lake, Caroline’s Beach, Park’s Landing, and Olivia’s Oasis. He enjoyed the simple things in life; a day out with Lisa and their dog Toby, making a Thanksgiving feast with family and watching Big 10 basketball with his close friends.

    He was survived by his sweetheart Lisa Curtis, his sister Anne Lippold, his sons Dan Andrew (Kristin) and Gregg Everett (Rana) from his marriage to Jeanne; son Drew Soaring-Eagle (Chi Lam), daughter Tess Moran (Noah), stepsons Jason Alan, Brian Edward (Julie) from his marriage to Kim; and grandchildren Owen Davis, Scott Colter, Zack Freedom, Kate Liberty, Calista Justice, Shaw Thorgerd, Sloan Unnur, Stark Ref, Steele Katla, Andre Thunder, Rye Lariat, Kolton Charles, Blake Edward, Madeline Annmarie.

    He was pre-deceased by his parents  Frank Shapiro and Lillian Shapiro (née Luznicky), sister Francis Friedman, brother-in-law Stanley Friedman, brother-in-law Paul Lippold, and first cousin Spencer Strellis (Judith).

    The family will hold a private memorial at his Wyoming home at a later date. In memory of Jack, donations can be made in his honor to A House in Austin, an organization that provides support for young families on Chicago’s west side

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