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George and Alice Strickler: Leading the Way in a New Era in Healthcare

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2021 edition of Promise magazine.

Giving back to Summa Health to help others in the community is a way of life for Alice and George Strickler. Earlier this year, they made their way of life a legacy with a leadership gift of $1 million to Summa Health that launched the extension of the campaign, “Caring For You… Then, Now, Always,” with an increased goal of $100 million.

“Summa Health is our health system, and we are fortunate to give back so that others in our community can benefit from the excellent care that Summa provides,” said Alice and George. “We hope that by leading by example we inspire others to do the same.” 

A long legacy of giving back

The couple’s long history of giving back to Summa started in 1987 when Alice was invited to join the Women’s Board of Summa Health. Over her 33 years as a member, Alice helped the Women’s Board raise support for nearly every clinical department across Summa Health as well as annual scholarships for nursing education. A few years ago, a nurse who benefited from one of those scholarships treated Alice in the emergency room.  

“It is very gratifying to know that we make a difference for our caregivers, patients and their families,” Alice said.  

Eight years ago, George became involved at Summa Health at the invitation of Tom Strauss, Summa Health president and chief executive officer, now retired, to join the Summa Foundation board. George answered the call in more ways than one. 

He since has served as a member of the executive committee of the Summa Foundation board for four years, the Summa Health Finance Committee for the last four years, the Summa Health Board of Directors since 2018, and was appointed the new chair in January. 

His volunteer leadership roles at Summa Health were no doubt bettered by his years of business experience and the top financial positions he held throughout his career.

“No matter how busy we are with career and family, we always have time for Summa and the community,” he said. “Being able to give back to an organization that has really given to us and that has helped us through our lives and careers is a blessing. We’re glad that we’re able to do these things.”

Today, Alice serves as volunteer chair and George as a member of the Summa Health Orthopedic Institute Leadership Council. Both also volunteer their time and expertise on the Summa Health Cardiovascular Leadership Council.

“This community is incredibly fortunate to have leaders like Alice and George,” said Cliff Deveny, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Summa Health. “Their deep commitment to giving back to Summa is an inspiration for all of us.” 

On August 19, the couple will be inducted into the Summa Health Thomas W. Cornell Philanthropic Leadership Society, a distinction reserved for those who have contributed $1 million or more to Summa Health.

On August 30, the couple will be honored at this year’s Summa Health Golf Outing for their years of community volunteerism, dedicated service and enduring support of Summa. Avid golfers, Alice and George are familiar faces at the annual outing.

“Golf brings everybody together,” said George. The Stricklers’ love of golf extends to their four children — George IV, Todd, Steve and Lauren — each of whom played varsity golf in high school. “I learned more about my kids while playing golf out on the course than having family dinners around the table,” he added with a laugh.

The Strickler family (from left): Andy and Lauren John; Amanda and George IV with children George V and Penelope; Alice and George; Wendy and Todd with daughter Livia; and Jessie and Steve with children Sloane and Smith. Not pictured is Andy and Lauren’s daughter, Avery, who was born after this family photo was taken.

A love for family 

Alice and George’s love for family is evident throughout their warm and inviting home. Family photographs are displayed in every room, among them a photo of Alice’s parents on their wedding day.

Alice shared the story of her mother, Elizabeth, who was only 3 years old when she arrived in the United States through Ellis Island on a ship from Hungary. Years later, after moving to Akron for a job at B. F. Goodrich, Elizabeth met her future husband, Adam, another Hungarian immigrant — who lived across the street from her. 

Alice and George met under similar circumstances. In late 1970, George moved next door to Alice in an apartment complex by Nesmith Lake. As the story goes, they bumped into one another — while taking out the trash to the dumpster. The following year, the couple tied the knot in a large family wedding. George was raised in a family of six children, and Alice and her twin brother were the youngest of eight siblings.

By this time, George already had embarked on his 30-year career at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, having graduated in 1969 from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in accounting. He earned his MBA in finance from The University of Akron in 1974 and received his CPA the following year.

Alice graduated from The University of Akron in 1970 with a degree in elementary education and began teaching third grade in the Manchester School System. Raised in the Lutheran faith, Alice has been involved at her church for as long as she can remember, including teaching Sunday School for more than 20 years.

In February 1976, the couple became proud parents to George IV, and 15 months later, Todd. Both boys were born at what was then Akron City Hospital. 

Their overseas adventure with Goodyear began in 1978, taking the family to São Paulo, Brazil, where their third son, Steve, was born; and later to Lima, Peru.  

“While we lived in and traveled to many parts of the world, Akron has been and always will be our home,” they said. 

In 1982, the couple returned to Akron. Five years later, their fourth child, Lauren, was born at Akron City Hospital. 

After nearly 50 years of marriage, the Strickler clan has nearly tripled in size with their four children and their spouses — George IV and Amanda, Todd and Wendy, Steve and Jessie, and Lauren and Andy John — and six grandchildren — Penelope, George V, Livia, Sloane, Smith and Avery.

Their daughter-in-law Amanda is a member of The Circle of Women’s Health Philanthropists at Summa Health.

“For us, nothing is more precious than our family,” said George. “And, Summa has been with us every step of the way. They have taken great care of our parents, they take great care of us, and three of our four children were born there. We give back because Summa has been part of our family for more than 40 years.”

Through careful estate planning, the couple has established a philanthropic trust that provides for their children and also gives back to Summa and the community after they are gone. 

“It gives us great comfort in knowing that our family and community will continue to benefit from the same excellent and compassionate healthcare that we do today,” said George.

Thankful for Summa’s care

Alice’s mother — a talented seamstress and baker — was full of life, even in her elderly years, but her active lifestyle came to a screeching halt when a fall in her kitchen resulted in a compression fracture in her back. Following orthopedic surgery at Summa Health, her mother remained energetic and pain-free until she died in February 2001 at the age of 91.

George’s mother was equally as active. Then, she suffered back pain so severe, she could not walk or stand. She underwent back surgery at Summa Health and, later, neck surgery. Finally, the pain subsided, and she was able to enjoy the activities she loved. She passed away in October 2014 at the age of 87.  

Alice and George are thankful for the treatment their mothers received at Summa Health.

“We are fortunate to have compassionate caregivers at Summa right here in our back yard,” said Alice. “Thanks to their exceptional care, our parents continued to enjoy the activities they so loved for their remaining years.”

A vision for the future

After George retired from Goodyear in 1999 as vice president of finance, he went on to serve as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Borg Warner, Republic Engineered Products, Lake West Inc. and Stoneridge Inc.

“With every business I’ve touched, the process starts with analyzing the marketplace, consumers and competitors, and working with talented people to create a clear vision for the future, even before we begin investing,” he said.

George is applying this same practice as chair of the Summa Health Board of Directors. 

“With gratitude for Alice and George’s leadership and generosity,” said Dr. Deveny, “we look forward to a bright future of leading the way in a new era of healthcare at Summa Health and throughout our community.” 

For more information about supporting Summa Health, contact Shelley Green at 330.375.6891 or


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