Robert Joseph Stratton joined our Heavenly Father on February 12, 2023. Robert, or “Joe” as everyone knew him, was surrounded by his loving family when he peacefully passed after a courageous fight with cancer. He led a life of complete devotion and unending love to his entire family.
A Funeral Mass will be Celebrated 11:00 AM Saturday, February 18, 2023 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 600 N. Adelaide Street, Fenton. Father Robert Copeland, Celebrant. Interment will be 1:00 PM Monday, February 20, 2023 at New Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Flint. Visitation will be 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM Friday, February 17, 2023 at Sharp Funeral Homes, Fenton Chapel, 1000 Silver Lake Road, Fenton, with a rosary service at 7:00 PM and visitation 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM Saturday at the church. In lieu of flowers, Memorial Contributions in Joe's memory would be appreciated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Joe was born in Owosso, MI on December 15, 1934 to Gerald Stratton and Bridget McAvoy. His childhood years were spent working on the family farm, and this is where his extraordinary work ethic and character was born, which he would display until his final days on earth.
Joe met the true love of his life, Margaret Ann Fortino, in Swartz Creek, MI. No greater love would there ever be from that moment on. The two were married at St. Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church on June 13, 1959. The Stratton family grew to include four children, Michael Joseph, Robert Jerome, Thomas James, and Anne Marie, all of whom he adored and protected. His devotion to his family was the most extraordinary display of selflessness and love.
Education was his life; he graduated from Durand High School and then went on to pursue his love of teaching at Central Michigan University. Joe spent his entire 43-year career as a teacher, with 39 of those years at Swartz Creek Community Schools. Teaching his high school students was his absolute passion and joy. He was no ordinary teacher, there were candy bar raffles, ice cream flavor quizzes, and always a lesson to respect and value everyone. His eyes would light up any time he ran into a former student or heard news about them. Clearly, this was his gift. A fond remembrance of many was hearing Mr. Stratton coming down the hallway humming and singing a song that was a tune all his own.
Toward the end of his teaching career, Joe and Margaret pursued another venture of building a family business. Stratton’s Ice Cream & Yogurt was a popular gathering place for families and friends. This created much success and joy for many years, and further displayed his unending work ethic and passion for serving others.
In retirement, Joe and Margaret spent many treasured years in Florida with wonderful times at Worthington Country Club in Bonita Springs. Joe was an avid golf fan who could frequently be found on the course with special friends. He held great pride in his golf skills, which led to three hole-in-ones throughout the years.
He had many hobbies that gave him great joy throughout his lifetime, including gardening, landscaping, playing cards, eating out, and going to movies. His yard was a tremendous source of pride; he spent hours perfecting his lush green lawn and the beautiful flowers were arranged with skill and care. He was also a huge sports enthusiast; he loved Michigan Football and Tiger Baseball. He carried that love of sports to coach high school baseball, football, and basketball. He was known for his magnificent sense of humor, generosity, and an unmatched ability to make others smile and laugh. The compassion in his heart was like no other.
He is survived by his wife Margaret, their children, Michael Joseph (Kim Butler), Robert Jerome, Thomas James, and Anne Marie. Grandchildren Michael Joseph II, Christopher Paul (Ola Nowakowska), Elizabeth Anne (Brennan Hafer), James Edward, Mary Margaret, and Great Granddaughter Veronica. Also are surviving sisters Norma Jean Kinney and Mary Ellen Hearit, and many special nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his mother, father, beloved stepfather Allen Adams, cherished sister, Geraldine Wascha, and precious granddaughter Lauren Stratton. Tributes may be shared at www.sharpfuneralhomes.com