Memories flow about Joe: friend, salesman, ‘Hobo’

Bill and I lost a dear friend last week, Joe Strauss from Shiner. Bill has written about him in several columns over the years because he was a most interesting guy.

He and wife Gladys raised a wonderful family—Marian, Bobby, Patrick and Mark—and were working on a large contingent of grandchildren, 10 so far, and one great-grandchild.

They worked for the Shiner Gazette after he served in the Army Air Force during World War II, and then Joe went to work for the Houston branch of the E. C. Palmer Paper Company. He called on newspaper people in South and Central Texas for 51 years, selling paper and other graphic arts supplies and equipment. He and Gladys purchased the Shiner Gazette and they ran the paper until selling it in 1992.

Everybody in the office looked forward to Joe’s visits— and not just because he always arrived with a box of kolaches or some deer sausage. He knew everybody by name and whether their grandchild had been sick or somebody in the family made straight A’s and other pertinent information and he asked about them by name.

You’ve heard of the Shiner Hobo Band. Joe was a mainstay of the group, playing the accordion and singing in both Czech and English. A happy moment for Bill was one year when Joe invited us to the annual Shiner Catholic Picnic and Bill got to play snare drum with the band.

Joe’s company hosted the hospitality room at our South Texas Press Association conventions and he and Gladys, also members of the association, were there every year, serving lots of Shiner beer and bowls of Gladys’ delicious party mix— more commonly called “Trash.” (More about that later.)

The hospitality room was called the Palmer Room but years ago was officially named the Strauss Haus, a tradition that will endure.

Joe’s death at 87 was a surprise to us although his health had been failing for a time. Bill and I and some other newspaper friends visited with Gladys and the family last Wednesday. Many memories of the Strauss Haus were recalled, and also “Gladys’ Trash.” I asked about the recipe and Gladys went right to it and made a copy to share. This makes four gallons, so make some and invite everybody you know over. Then hide the rest so you’ll have plenty left over for yourself!

Gladys’ Trash

1 box Crispix cereal 1/2 box Wheat Chex 1/2 box Rice or Corn Chex or both 1 box long thin pretzels (shake bag to get rid of some of the salt) 1 jar salted dry roasted peanuts 1 can pecans or cashews 1/2 box Kix cereal 2 medium packages Cheetos

In a saucepan, mix the following and simmer until margarine is melted: 4 sticks unsalted margarine 1/2 cup bacon grease 2-1/2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce 2 tablespoons garlic salt 2 tablespoons seasoning salt 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Spoon the hot liquid over cereal and nuts. Mix well with hands. Place in oven for about 1-1/2 hours at 250 degrees, stirring several times while baking. Do not cover pans while in oven. When cool, place in air tight jars.


Retired Reporter office manager Shirley Luetge, on learning of Joe’s death, sent the following note:

“I always enjoyed seeing Joe walk into The Reporter. I can still hear his and Mr. (W.H.) Cooke’s laughter coming from Mr. C’s office. Those two really had a great sense of humor and enjoyed each other’s company. They did liven up the place. One of many fond memories I have of working there.”

Joe, indeed, livened up print shops and newspaper offices over a big region of Texas for more than a half century. He touched many lives.

Rest in peace, Joe.

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2011-07-28 digital edition

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