Feed-Lot magazine co-founder passes away

Bob Strong

Bob Strong

by Greg Strong

On December 14th at 2:00 AM Robert A. “Bob” Strong, one of the two founding partners of Feed-Lot Magazine passed away in his sleep.   I was extremely lucky to work with my father for 21 years.  When we started the magazine, neither of us had ever worked for a magazine and literally learned “on the job.”  We worked hard and over the years built Feed-Lot Magazine into what it is today.  But, we did not do this alone.  In 1995, Bob hired three exceptional employees, our graphic designer, Steve Philip, Our General Manager, Annita Lorimor, and our Editor, Jill Dunkel.  All three have been with us for over 21 years.

Bob and I talked at least two hours a day, vacationed together, fished and hunted together, hunted arrowheads together, installed extensive drip irrigation systems, edited each others copy, and took thousands of photos of cattle.  He was my Father, my mentor, and my best friend and I will miss him very much.

Robert was born in Morland, Kans., on October 16, 1930 to Arthur and Folsom Strong. He was a loving and devoted son to Folsom until she died. From her, and no doubt due to his dust bowl, depression era childhood, he inherited a combination of iron strength and unstoppable work ethic that would serve him his whole life.

He grew up in Morland Kans., and Hill City Kans., where he graduated from high school in 1948. He spent several years working on area farms and ranches eventually working oil rigs for Shell Oil Company throughout Kansas and Colorado before signing up for the Marines and serving for two years in Korea, where he was honored with the Purple Heart Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.

Upon his return to the states attended Wichita State University on the GI Bill and got his BA in Graphic Arts. After graduation he started the first of a long series of companies that grew to include Strong Art Service, Ideas Incorporated, Central Graphics, Industrial Communications, Parkinson, Strong, Prisock, Campaign Associates and many others. His long career included stints as graphic artist, advertising man, book illustrator, political consultant, and ultimately publisher.

At the age of 62, when most of his contemporaries were thinking of retirement, he started a yet another new venture, Feedlot Magazine. He and son Greg partnered on the magazine for the next 21 years, growing it into a thriving publication still operating in Dighton today.

He was lucky enough to marry Virginia (Stramel) Strong in 2001, a woman as tough and hardworking has he was, and they enjoyed 15 years of happiness together.

Bob Strong was not a man who particularly enjoyed leisure, not as many of us know it. He was not one to relax when there were things to be done. In his “spare time,” he pursued many passions, a renaissance man in the truest sense.

He was a lifelong fisherman, from his early days at fishing holes in the country surrounding Hill City, then fishing favorite spots along Fall River and the Little Walnut River with his brother and son. He expanded his reach in later years to fishing trips with Virginia to Lake Michigan, the Salmon River in Idaho, Lake Texoma, and the Blue Mesa Reservoir in Colorado.

He was an accomplished artist, producing oils and watercolors in his studio and out on his travels. He also crafted many etchings and engravings during his time in school. He was willing to share his talent with his young children, creating dragons, dinosaurs and cowboys on demand according to their specifications.

He enjoyed dancing, often traveling for miles to events in surrounding towns. In fact, he met his wife Virginia at a dance in Dodge City.

He labored long and hard to perfect his recipe for biscuits, practicing on a grateful family each morning until their collective weight gain forced him into retirement. Other culinary pursuits included pickles, jellies and jams from his homegrown berries, trail mix, and his signature peanut brittle.

He was a self-trained carpenter, a maker of things. Anything really. Never one to hire out what he knew he could do himself, he would eventually find a solution to any problem, even if he might create a few new problems in the meantime. He never met a tool he didn’t need, and didn’t ultimately use. The workshop he built in Dighton was the culmination of a life’s work, with a custom ventilation system, every power tool known to man, and at least three versions of most hand tools.

He was a curious, tireless seeker of knowledge, collecting and devouring books and magazines on cattle,  archeology, art and history, while staying current on the news of the world. He was a seeker of artifacts, spending countless hours scouring the plains of Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado in search of arrowheads, pottery and grinding stones, ultimately accumulating a museum-worthy collection of thousands of pieces.

He was a lover of dogs from his boyhood on. From his first dog Brownie, to his last dog JR, they were each spoiled and devoted companions.

Perhaps most of all, he was a planter, a gardener, a cultivator and a conservationist. No matter where he lived, one of his first priorities was staking out the garden, often overtaking whatever lawn there might have been before. And he grew trees. Hundreds of trees. Pecan, walnut, cherry, plum, apple, oak, locust, peach, apricot, cedar, redbud, almond, mulberry, pear, persimmon, hazelnut, nectarine, chestnut, maple, weeping willow. When he couldn’t fill he and Virginia’s own yard in Dighton any fuller, he partnered with son Greg to plant hundreds more on Greg’s property outside of town.  He loved growing things. And gardens and trees thrived under his attention.

Bob Strong will be dearly missed by those he left behind. His legacy will live on in his children, his wife, his friends, his magazine and of course, his trees.

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