Robb Strack, longtime Silver Streaks broadcaster, dies at 85

Mike Trueblood
For the Register-Mail

Galesburg − Robb Strack, who most recently lived in North Barrington, Illinois, died Monday. He was 85.

Strack, known as the booming voice of the Galesburg Silver Streaks from the late 1970s through the early 2000s, called games for both WGIL and later WAIK and served as a morning radio host on both stations. 

Well known as a tireless critic of officials and umpires, Strack broadcast football, basketball and baseball games for Galesburg High School as well as contests involving Knox College, Carl Sandburg College and Galesburg Legion baseball.

But Strack's love and loyalty for the Silver Streaks was never in doubt.

His partners in the broadcast booth over the years included Dick Lindstrom, Tom Wilson and Jimmie Carr.

Even though he primarily broadcast football games with Strack for 15 years, an experience not involving the Silver Streaks is one of Lindstrom's fondest memories.

"We did two state basketball tournaments without Galesburg being there," he recalls. "Robb, Tom Wilson and I all worked it and I think it was some of the best high school basketball I've ever heard. 

"I'm proud of that."

Steve Cheesman, a longtime coach at Churchill Junior High, Galesburg High School and with Galesburg Legion baseball, remembers when he first heard Strack on the air.

"After I graduated high school, I listened to him broadcast games when my brother played for the Silver Streaks when I was in college.

"I thought he was really, really good. I thought he was really professional. It showed he knew what he was doing."

Following his retirement from WAIK, Strack worked as a sports writer for The Galesburg Register-Mail for several years. He was inducted into the Galesburg High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.

Along with his on-the-air work, Strack also offered his services as a public address announcer and statistician for Silver Streaks and Legion Post 285 baseball.

"He covered us and was statistician for many years and we developed a nice friendship," said former GHS baseball coach Arnie Gonzalez, now coach at ROWVA/Williamsfield. 

Gonzalez described Strack as genuine and said he will miss him.

"We've lost quite a few people in the last year - Gary Bruington, Roger Sander and Robb. He truly, truly enjoyed covering the Silver Streaks and he loved to cover Legion in the summer.  

Cheesman remembers Strack's impact on Legion baseball. "He was an excellent journalist and asked a lot of good questions," he said.

"He helped us behind the scenes with all kinds of things. He bought meals, he took care of some rooms. He contributed in a lot of ways." 

Born in Milwaukee, Strack married Sonja Lande in 1964 and they enjoyed 36 years together until she passed away in 2000.

He attended Iowa State University and took his first broadcasting job in Hayward, Wisconsin in the early 1960s. He later worked in Clinton, Iowa before coming to Galesburg. A die-hard Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs fan, he attended many of their games home and away.

Lindstrom and Strack became fast friends. 

"The year after his wife passed away, he didn't want to be in town on the anniversary of her death and he said, 'I've got to get out of town,'" Lindstrom remembered.

"He asked me, if you come with me, I'll pay your ticket to the Packers' game in Jacksonville, Florida.

"That was the start of about eight different trips to Packer games. And wherever we'd go, I'd wear the other team's jersey.

"I had some fun with it."

Strack is survived by three sons, four grandchildren, a sister and many nieces, nephews and extended family.