Cover photo for William "Bill" Joseph Strauss's Obituary
William "Bill" Joseph Strauss Profile Photo
1919 William "Bill" 2023

William "Bill" Joseph Strauss

October 27, 1919 — July 21, 2023

William “Bill” Joseph Strauss, 103, of Salem, Arkansas, passed away from this life on Friday, July 21, 2023, at his home in Salem, Arkansas. Bill was born to William E. Strauss and Lillian (Werner) Strauss on October 27, 1919, in Chicago, Illinois.  
 
Bill was one of the oldest WW II Battle of the Bulge veterans living in Arkansas. Bill was a participant of ROTC in high school in Chicago, Illinois and when WW II kicked off Bill went to California to join the Navy in 1941. Bill wanted to serve on the USS Kennison with others from Chicago, but when they found out he was color blind they wouldn’t take him. Bill returned to Chicago to work and was drafted on January 30, 1942, and he chose to join the Army. Bill was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas and was assigned to the 73rd Field Artillery Battalion, 9th Armored Division, where he was able to serve in the mounted cavalry. He always remarked how much he enjoyed Fort Riley because he had fond memories of stables which were close to his home in Illinois. After receiving training in California in 1944, his unit was sent to New York and then shipped to Europe aboard the Queen Mary, where his bunk window was right at the water line. They eventually landed on Omaha Beach and made their way to Bastogne. Bill fought in the Battle of the Bulge, the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the United States in WW II, which helped to hasten the end of the war. His unit was known as the “Phantom Division” and was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism against a surprise attack by a German division which outnumbered allied troops five to one. Awards during his service include European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with 3 OLC’s, WW II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal w/Germany Clasp, Presidential Unit Emblem, Meritorious Unit Emblem, American Campaign Medal, Driver and Mechanics Badge w/Driver Bar, and Good Conduct Medal. Bill was honored by the Arkansas House of Representatives on January 27, 2015, where Representative Joseph Scott Baltz presented House Resolution 1003 to honor Bill Strauss for his military service during WW II. On August 15, 2017, Bill was honored by the French Consul and awarded the French Legion of Honor which is the highest award given by the French government and recognizes exemplary service to France. Bill received the award for assisting in the liberation of France during WW II and became a Knight of the Legion d’Honneur. Bill was passionate in his desire to educate and share his experiences and often visited local schools in Viola and Salem talking to the faculty and youth. In 2019, he was interviewed and recorded for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project to ensure generations present and future, will know of the sacrifices he and others made in service to the United States.   
 
Bill was united in marriage to Betty D. Saulsman on October 12, 1946, in Guthrie, Oklahoma. In 1954 they bought their home in Lake in the Hills, Illinois and raised their family. Bill worked with streets and sanitation for the City of Chicago and after retirement they moved to Arkansas in 1995. Bill enjoyed gambling, hunting, fishing, playing cards, and bingo, but most of all he enjoyed his family and friends. Bill was a member of VFW Post #9777 in Salem, Arkansas, American Legion Post #1231 in Lake in the Hills, Illinois, and was of the Methodist faith. He was a loving son, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. 
 
Bill leaves to mourn his passing, son, Richard Strauss (Robin) of Harvard, Illinois; two daughters, Deborah Lindenberg (Rus) of Harvard, Illinois and Jeannine Balmer (Guy) of Lake in the Hills, Illinois; three grandchildren, Brenton Lindenberg of Harvard, Illinois, Ryan Lindenberg of Capron, Illinois, and Lindsey Strauss of Harvard, Illinois; many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his wife (Betty Strauss), son (David Strauss), and parents (Bill and Lillian Strauss).
 
Visitation will be 12 Noon until time-of-service Saturday, July 29, 2023, at the Salem VFW Post #9777 in Salem, Arkansas. Funeral services will be 2:00 P.M., Saturday, July 29, 2023, at the Salem VFW Post #9777 in Salem, Arkansas, with Bro. John Hodges officiating. Memorials may be made to the Salem VFW Post #9777.  Arrangements are under the direction of Barker Funeral Home in Salem, Arkansas.  


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, July 29, 2023

12:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Salem VFW Post #9777

, Salem, AR 72576

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Funeral Service

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Salem VFW Post #9777

, Salem, AR 72576

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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