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In Memoriam Ron Strandberg (1956-2013)

The piece below was written by Catherine Youngren, RIDBC (Fellow), RDI-Seattle Chapter about her friend and business partner, Ron Strandberg. Ron was inducted to the IDC College of Fellows in 1992. Ron passed away on December 30, 2013 following complications from a surgery.

Ron Strandberg was my dear friend, my mentor, and my business partner from 1981 -86. I moved from Edmonton to Vancouver in 1978, wrote the NCIDQ exam in 1979, and joined IDI in 1980. Ron was one of the first IDI members to welcome me into the Institute's meetings. He had a warm infectious smile, a deep rich laugh and a wonderful sense of humour. We hit it off immediately. Ron encouraged me to become involved in IDI Committees and then on the IDI Board of Directors. My first job in Vancouver ended when the company I was with went through restructuring. I joined Ron at Simon and Associates - a hotel planning firm. After a year, and with his approval and support, I joined an office planning firm in order to broaden my design experience. However, I missed Ron's energy and sense of fun. We would phone one another at lunchtime, and we soon realized that what we really wanted was to start our own firm, specializing in hotel and restaurant design, his and my area of expertise.

And so - Strandberg Youngren was born. Together we did some great projects, taught at Kwantlen College and survived tough economic times and- the total arson of the building in which we rented our office. Ron had built great relationships through his ongoing work with IDI, especially with IDI's suppliers and architectural reps. With the support of many in the Resource Association, we were able to relocate the office, where again Ron's sense of humour prevailed, when we sent out re-opening announcements with the catch phrase, " when you're hot, you're hot!"

In late 1985, I had the opportunity to work almost full-time on retail projects for Expo 86, and I felt it was time to refocus my energies entirely in that area. Ron was was doing well in restaurant design. We dissolved the partnership, but we continued to work together for many years on projects for IDI.
Ron loved plants and gardening, and as a parting gift, he gave me a cutting from one of his favourites, which still thrives in my office- almost 30 years later.

Ron gave selflessly of his time and energy in seeking respect for interior design as an equal player to the other professions within the built environment. He worked both provincially and nationally, sometimes at the expense of his own success and growth. He was the ultimate committed volunteer, a role model for us all - giving back to the profession that gave him so much pleasure and satisfaction.

I will miss the mischievous twinkle in his eyes... and oh, how I will miss that wonderful laugh!

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