James "Bill" Stroud III '75 November 19, 2021 11:02 AM updated: November 19, 2021 11:16 AM
James William Stroud III
November 26, 1953 - October 1, 2021
It is with great sadness that the family of Bill, James William Stroud III, announces his passing in Akron, OH, on October 1, 2021, at the age of 67.
He was known as Bill, Billy, Uncle Bill, Dad, and perhaps his favorite moniker, Grandad.
He was born in Houston, TX and spent time in both Seattle and Fort Walton Beach before graduating from Slidell High School in Slidell, LA. Bill moved to College Station, TX to attend Texas A&M University, where he joined the Corps of Cadets and proudly played trombone in the Fighting Texas Aggie Band. In his spare time, he played saxophone in a jazz band that he and his buddies named The Dukes of Aggieland. He graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1975 and was commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserves.
After his graduation from TAMU, Bill went to work for The Texas Pipeline Co. before partnering at Syntech and eventually launching his own business, Stroud Engineering Services, which he led successfully and purposefully until his passing. If he hadn't been an engineer, he would have been a musician. Not only could he play the keyboards, saxophone, and trombone, he also arranged music for his high school band. Bill enjoyed a broad range of musical genres and could rock out to Queen as easily as he could to David Allen Coe. Jazz music and Zydeco brought out his Cajun roots and always got him on his feet and dancing. Many friends and family would find themselves in the evenings trading favorite songs back and forth with Bill, who always wanted to share his favorite tunes with everyone.
He was intelligent, generous, quick to laugh, and loved to tell stories. Bill was known for many things, but some of the most prominent were his love for music, cars, and the company of family and friends. He loved cars, especially old ones, punctuated by the 12-car garage he built on his property housing a multitude of different makes and models ranging from a 1924 open top Buick to a 1966 Teal Tornado and a cherry red 1969 Jaguar, "a piece of art," Bill would say. He grew up working on Corvairs with his father, starting with the first one he bought for $25 and got running for an additional $25.
For five years, he participated in The Great Race, a cross country classic rally for vintage automobiles, winning in 2002 navigating for his dad, the driver, in a 1937 Packard Touring Sedan. He loved his wife, Krista, fiercely - always referring to her as his beautiful bride, even after 33 years of marriage. He adored his two "darling daughters" and his five grandchildren, making consistent trips to Texas from Ohio to wow them and invite them into the next adventure. A Texan, who put his roots down in Ohio, you could not have a conversation with Bill without realizing he was a transplant - whether it was his southern drawl, his warm "howdy" greeting, his boots, belt buckles, and wide-brimmed hat or the Texas flag that he flew from his Ohio garage.
Fiercely competitive, he loved all types of games, particularly bridge with his friends, labyrinth with his grands, and blackjack and poker at the casino or in his garage. From trips to his favorite Caribbean island, St. Martin, to trips to Cedar Point with his family, from huge NYE parties to annual family softball games and chainsaw parties that he hosted, Bill loved to gather people together with food, music and good stories. You would see him with his arms wide and a big smile, happy you made it - happy to see you. Above all, Bill knew life was a gift. He embraced it and lived it with intensity and passion. One of his many mantras was, "You can't plan an adventure." Indeed you cannot, and Bill's life was full of them.
Bill leaves to mourn him, his wife and true companion of 33 years, Krista, her siblings, their spouses and children; his daughters, Elizabeth '02 (Michael) Cosser of College Station, TX and Ashley (Scott) Phillips of Austin, TX; sister, Neysa McClellan of Omaha, NE; his dear cousins in Denton, TX, Pat Kelsoe and Linda Riley and their gang, who he had many a great time with, and Lisa Neelley, of Houston, TX; and his "grands", who he cherished and were the highlights of his life: Zak, Zoey, and Zadie Cosser and Charlie and Elliot Phillips along with many good friends across the country.
In lieu of flowers or condolences, Bill would love it if you picked up the phone and called someone you haven't talked to in a while. Tell them you love them.
A celebration of Bill's life will be held at a later date.