July 31, 1942 - July 20, 2017
We are sad to announce the death of Yair Walter Strauss, July 20, 2017. Born in Tel Aviv July 31, 1942, son of Gideon and Ruth Strauss (Kantorowicz Ries), brother to Noa (Mohlabane), Eran, Adin, and Sharon.
Yair moved with his family to New York City at the age of five, and spent many formative summers at Music Camp Catawba, North Carolina. He moved to Jerusalem in 1953, completed mandatory Israeli military service, and returned to the U.S., where he got at BA at UC Berkeley. After, he focused on his true love - music, going to Switzerland briefly to study violin making, and then to Indiana University where he earned his MFA in orchestra conducting. He started his long conducting career as Assistant Orchestra Conductor to the Oakland Symphony, Conductor for the Oakland ballet and the Youth Orchestra before moving to leave his musical mark in Oregon, his home since 1976. He served as conductor of the Salem and Rogue Valley Symphonies, the Rogue Valley Symphonic Band, and the Southern Oregon Concert Band.
He retired from conducting and became a realtor, which gave him more time to hike in nature and play music, his true loves. Moving from the oboe, he taught himself clarinet then joined all three community bands as a clarinetist - the two above and the Ashland City Band. Yair was beloved in Ashland, playing in local recorder ensembles, a woodwind quartet, and teaching Hebrew at the Havurah Shir Hadash synagogue. Tragically, Yair took his own life; he was a beloved brother, neighbor, friend, mentor, and musician.
There will be a memorial service Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. at the Havurah Shir Hadash, 185 N. Mountain Avenue, Ashland, OR 97520. Arrangements are in care of Litwiller-Simonsen Funeral Home, Ashland, Ore. www.litwillersimonsen.com.