Don Stroetzel — a strong supporter of Georgetown

Don Stroetzel, a former Redding resident who passed away on Aug. 31 at the age of 95, was one of the most influential people in the development of Georgetown, according to Ralph Bosch, who worked with him in founding the Georgetown Village Restoration Inc. (GVRI) — a nonprofit community organization whose primary mission is to develop Georgetown’s commercial district.

Bosch said that Stroetzel, who lived in Redding since 1973, was a member of the Georgetown Restoration Committee, a regular participant in Georgetown Day and active in all GVRI-related events — “whether it was a holiday party or a summer picnic,” said Bosch, a Trumbull resident.

He said Stroetzel would attend all meetings relating to Georgetown, speak up when he thought it was important, and share information when he thought it was relevant.

According to Bosch, who owns several businesses in Georgetown, including Auburn Landing and Overbrook Associates, Stroetzel always loved Georgetown.

“He thought that it is cute and funky and a nice little commercial district that needed to be improved upon,” Bosch said. “He understood that Georgetown could be its own entity apart from the towns that made it up” — which are Redding, Weston, Wilton and Ridgefield.

Bosch added that Stroetzel was also an advocate for anything that affected the sewer district in Georgetown and involved the revitalization of the Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill.

Bosch said Stroetzel was a strong supporter of the Streetscape plan that was implemented in Georgetown about 10 years ago.

“He was instrumental in getting the streets of Georgetown dressed up — adding sidewalks, crosswalks, street lamps and getting some of the intersection work done,” Bosch said.

Bosch said what made Stroetzel particularly special was that — unlike a business or property owner —  “he had no vested interest in Georgetown other than the fact that he saw the potential development of a commercial district that would be beneficial to the residents of Redding and the other towns that comprised the greater Georgetown area.”

Positive outlook

John Murren, owner of Murren Kane Construction in Georgetown and president of GVRI, said Stroetzel was very self-confident — a quality of which others took note.

“I have known him for years. He was very positive and assured in his dealings with the town of Redding,” said Murren, of Ridgefield.

“His clear and precise thinking was admired by all who worked with him,” Murren added. “Don had a ready smile and participated in all our celebrations. He will be missed.”

Bringing people together

Redding resident Robert Dean, who was assistant chairmen of the Redding Planning Commission, worked with Stroetzel for more than 25 years and said Stroetzel was one of a kind.

“He was a person who was valuable not only because he had good ideas and was good at working on a team but was also a genuinely nice person who respected those around him,” Dean said. “He was a model in that way.”

“Don was one of those people who could bring people together and have them walk away having accomplished something and still be friends — this is not just a skill, it’s an outlook,” he added.

Dean recalled many times when the Planning Commission was caught up in differing viewpoints. “Don was one of those people who could get a respectful discussion, take the necessary compromises and get the job done,” Dean said.

Dean called Stroetzel a tribute to the building of relationships. “He is a person who others should look at as a model.”