Lee Roy Stropes

1945 - 2019

Vietnam War

Their Story

Lee Roy Stropes was born on January 28, 1945, to Melvin and Marie Stropes. He attended Orion High School and enlisted in the army in early 1966. Soon after, he started basic training at Camp Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[1] In March of 1967, Stropes was deployed to Vietnam as part of the Ordnance Branch, which served under the 1st Logistical Command. During this time, Stropes worked specifically as a mechanic. In January of 1968, while Stropes was serving in Cam Rahn Bay, South Vietnam, he was promoted from Private First Class to the rank of Specialist Fifth Class.[2] Two months later, Stropes was transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve, and while on reserve, he began working at McLaughlin Body as a finish grinder. On April 12, 1969, he married June Anne Stickle, and over the next three years, the couple welcomed two sons. Stropes was discharged from the Army in March of 1972, and he remained with McLaughlin Body for a total of nearly sixteen years; however, for a three-year period, from 1978 to 1981, Stropes was laid off from McLaughlin, and during this time, he partnered with his brother-in-law, Donny Stickle, to open S&S Body. In 1981, he returned to McLaughlin for another five years; he then began working at MidAmerican Energy as a meter reader. He continued in this job until he retired in 2009.

Stropes had no formal mechanical training, but he had a passion for cars. He utilized these skills as a mechanic during the war, and afterwards he continued working in a similar field while at McLaughlin. After his retirement, Stropes often entered his cars in the annual car show held at the Fall Festival in his hometown of Orion.[3]

Stropes had numerous other hobbies, including fishing, hunting, and riding his motorcycle. For several years, Stropes and his wife would take their grandchildren camping, where he taught them to fish. He also enjoyed travelling with his wife, June; the couple often spent the winter months at their home in Florida.

On June 12, 2019, Stropes passed away at his home in Orion, Illinois. He was survived by his two sons, five grandchildren, and his brother William Stropes.[4] Unfortunately, not much is known about Stropes’ time in the service, as he didn’t like to talk about it much. This was not uncommon for Vietnam veterans, as it was a very gruesome war. This was also due to the anti-war campaigns in the United States at the time; many Americans protested the war, and veterans were often mistreated for their involvement in the war.


[1]Lee Roy Stropes,” The Dispatch/The Rock Island Argus, (Moline and Rock Island, Illinois), 15 June 2019, p.A4.

[2]Western Illinois Serving Country,” The Rock Island Argus, (Rock Island, Illinois), 17 February 1968, p.20.

[3]Interview with Derrick and Chad Stropes on May 15, 2022.

[4]“Lee Roy Stropes,” The Dispatch.