January 25, 1927 ~ December 13, 2006
James Strong, 79
James Knox Strong, 79, longtime California community activist and political campaign organizer for state and local officials including Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh and former Governor Edmund G. Brown, died December 13 at Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center in Harbor City after a long illness. The cause was congestive heart failure.
Born in Medina, New York on January 25, 1927, Strong studied at Columbia University before enlisting in the U.S. Navy and serving in World War II. He returned to enroll in the University of Miami, where he became active in student politics and worked on campaigns for U.S. Senator Claude Pepper (FL). After graduating with a B.B.A. in Government, Strong joined the Army Reserve during the Korean War and served as an Army information and education specialist, supervising a current affairs program for 5000 men. He moved to Los Angeles in 1952 and quickly became involved in local Democratic politics, through the Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee. He was active in all the assembly campaigns for Jesse Unruh, who served as best man at Strong's wedding in 1957. He organized many get-out-the-vote drives in Southern California for John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson as well as Unruh and other state and local elected officials.
Passionate about American History and the political process, Strong received his M.A. degree in Government from California State University at Los Angeles. He spent 14 years as a teacher of history and government in inner-city Los Angeles senior and adult high schools, and lectured in political science at Loyola-Marymount University and also taught community organization at Pepperdine University. Later in life he was an active volunteer and served on the staff of the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum in Wilmington.
As a community organization consultant and director of behavioral health programs for several decades, he served a long list of clients and agencies, including the CORO Foundation, YMCA, City of Pasadena, the California Museum of Science and Industry, and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. He was the founder and first executive director of Behavioral Health Services, a drug and alcohol treatment center located in the South Bay. An avid reader, Strong helped establish the Redondo Beach Library Foundation and served on its board.
A member of Manhattan Beach Community Church, Strong had lived in Redondo Beach since 1973. He leaves behind his wife, Mary of nearly 50 years; a daughter, Judith Strong Jorgensen and her husband Gregory of San Jose, Calif.; and a son, James Knox Strong, Jr. and his wife Nancy of Ventura, Calif.
A private memorial service is being coordinated at a future date.
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