Jay David Strieb, 83, of Ardmore, PA passed away on January 11, 2024. Born on March 18, 1940, he grew up in North Philadelphia, received his undergrad at Temple, his Master’s at Penn and his Ph.D. at Bryn Mawr. Dr. Strieb then became a physics professor at Villanova University. I remember my first week at college there when I mentioned my last name and received a reaction from an upper classman that my father, who I always thought was pretty laid back, was known for failing a student in every class. My dad had a reputation on campus; I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Whether the failing rumor was true or not, dad had a tradition of always wearing his red blazer on testing day; I think perhaps it was to scare his students. This makes him sound intimidating, but he was only scary in how smart he was, especially when it came to numbers, puzzles, and games that he liked to play, such as boggle, chess and scrabble. He once did a math problem, in his head, while waiting for my brother to get out of swim practice that had taken me my entire math period to do, on paper (and I still got it wrong - he didn’t.) He would complete the crossword in the Sunday paper every week. When I was young, he had several chess pen pals with whom he played games via postcard. He would draw his move on the postcard, send it off and wait several weeks to receive a return postcard with his opponent’s move. Thus, a game of chess would take months or perhaps over a year. He was a very patient man. Later in life, he took up scrabble and traveled all over the country to play in, and win, several competitions.
As good as he was with numbers, we used to joke that he had failed the triangle in high school band. However, he and mom learned to ballroom dance. It started out as a way to dance at their eldest son’s Bar Mitzvah, but they fell in love with it and danced together for the next several decades.