Born Nov. 18, 1925
Imagine moving to a place where you didn’t know the language, had no relatives or friends and had to come to terms with seeing your family only once every, 10, 15 or 20 years.
This is the situation in which Hideko M. “Terry” Strange found herself after marrying a U.S. soldier in Japan. She and that soldier, John H. Strange, would later reap decades of kudos in Indianapolis for the donation of land made for an elementary school that today has his name.
The John Strange Elementary School, located at 3660 East 62nd Street, is one of seven elementary schools in the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township in Indianapolis. John Strange’s grandfather, whose name was also John H. Strange, donated the land for a school with the condition that it always be the location of a school and that the school have his name.
The area was developed over many years. There were years of fighting between Washington Township officials and the people who owned property in the area over building roads. One of the roads was the John Strange Road, which was eventually paved for more than two miles.
The first school built on the land was constructed in 1924. It was a 10-room school house for elementary students. After additions and replacement buildings over the years, the current building was built in 1977.
When Hideko Strange came to Indiana, she and her husband settled into life at their home on the Near Northside, then purchased a home in the 7700 block of Dean Road. The school had been built by then.
She raised and groomed poodles. He was a superintendent for Uniroyal Tire Co. He had also served in the U.S. Army and Air Force.
“I met them a few years after they came to Indiana,” said family friend Akiko Jensen, who is also from Japan. “By the time I met them, the school was already built.”
Mrs. Strange’s husband died in June 1985. The couple did not have children.
After his death, she and Mrs. Jensen became closer friends. She continued grooming pets and also worked as a florist.
As she lived her life, Mrs. Strange often drove along the old John Strange Road, past the John Strange Elementary School, a lasting legacy to a giving family. While she can no longer recall the many kudos the family received for donating the land, she still smiles when the school is mentioned.