Obituary: Alan D. Stracke, 1946-2024 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Alan D. Stracke, 1946-2024 

Award-winning professor emeritus, storyteller and cultural explorer inspired students and colleagues

Published February 8, 2024 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated February 8, 2024 at 4:54 p.m.

click to enlarge Alan Stracke - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Alan Stracke

Alan D. Stracke's spirit took flight on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at 4:30 a.m. in the arms of his wife, Lynda Reid, to the comforting tunes of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry."

Like all Caribbean music, Marley's music inspired Alan to travel extensively throughout the islands, diving into the history, rich cultures and authentic peoples. Those unique people and experiences motivated Alan, in 1998, to put the anecdotes to print and write Why Ask: A Cultural Exploration of the Caribbean.

Why Ask became his nontraditional textbook, utilizing storytelling to connect the students to their personal stories and thus to sociology concepts. In 2005, Alan created the accompanying A Storyteller's Journey Into Sociology (STJ) as a deeper dive into the Caribbean and his one-of-a-kind childhood, directly connecting sociological concepts to the content. STJ built on Alan's methodology — Collaborative Engagement Through Narrative (CEN) — and combined his passion for teaching, the Caribbean and storytelling into one.

Anthony Bourdain said, "Your body is not a temple; it's an amusement park." Alan's was more of an "island car," decorated with colorful flotsam and jetsam, painted in bright colors, and held together with wire, jute and duct tape. The “held together” was thanks to many excellent doctors and therapists who were integral to Alan's recoveries, from the doctors at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington to his bone marrow transplant team at Memorial Sloane Kettering in New York City to the surgeons at Loma Linda University Hospital to his amazing, ongoing care team at Eisenhower Medical in Palm Springs, Calif. His body had endured so much, not by fighting an illness (like his two aggressive cancers) but by allowing them to pass through. This time, the pneumonia was all-consuming; it would not pass through, so Alan chose to pass through it.

click to enlarge Alan Stracke - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Alan Stracke

Alan’s last 16 years were thanks to his brother, Paul Stracke, who blessed him as a stem cell donor, allowing Alan's adventures to continue. His sister, Virginia, and brother-in-law, Gary Mitchell, were always Alan's playmates and supporters throughout his life. His sister-in-law, Sheilagh O'Dwyer, and her family relished being part of Alan's crazy antics and supported him in countless ways. He was gifted with exceptional bonds to a unique group of students — Alan's "Younglings," who became and are like family to him and Lynda. Most treasured was the gift of reuniting with his son, Lincoln Dwyer, and getting to know and love his daughter-in-law, Carisa, and granddaughter, Mia. While not closely connected to others in his family over the last years, he held special memories of each of his siblings, in-laws, and nieces and nephews.

Alan was an award-winning professor emeritus, a storyteller, a cultural explorer and a "pirate" who inspired countless students, colleagues and friends and brightened the day of everyone he encountered. Those who knew him knew there had never been anything subtle about Alan. Now that his incredible spirit has no limitations, he's taking up all the space he can with his colorful energy. You will always find that energy in each sunrise and sunset. That big spirit fills the sky each morning, reminding us to be bold, dream big and believe anything is possible. With each sunset, he invites us to embrace our gratitude for the little miracles of the day and the love we share.

Celebrations of life will be planned later this year in Burlington, Vt., and Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Follow Alan's "Storyteller's Journey Revisited" at, as his wife, Lynda, shares yet-to-be-told stories of Alan and announcements of future celebrations.

To honor Alan and carry on his impact on the next generation by supporting them in studying abroad, Lynda asks that you donate to the Stracke/Reid Cultural Immersion Scholarship at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., Alan's academic home for over 40 years. Contact [email protected].

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