In Memoriam: Henry L. Strauss

Joan and Henry Strauss
Joan and Henry Strauss in February 2019.
Photo credit: Eric Stephenson Photography

Henry Leopold Strauss passed away on April 8, 2021 at the age of 93. The name Strauss is likely familiar to us at CU Anschutz because in 2018 the CU Regents renamed the library in Henry’s honor as the Strauss Health Sciences Library. However, Henry was much more than a name on a building.

Henry’s history with the library began in the mid-1990’s when his first wife, Florence G. Strauss, was receiving treatment in the hospital. Henry, who graduated with a degree in Pharmacy from CU Boulder in 1951, had long been interested in traditional Chinese medicine as well as other forms of indigenous medicine. He had collected about 20 books on these topics and believed it was important for healthcare professionals to know about the entire spectrum of healthcare treatments. After Florence passed away in 1995, Henry donated his small collection of books to the library and set up an endowment for the Florence G. Strauss Indigenous Medicine Collection. The purpose of the collection was to collect books on topics related to all forms of traditional and indigenous medicine. The collection, now holding close to 4,000 items, grew over the years through purchases made with the endowment and through purchases made during Henry’s extensive travels. The collection was renamed in 2010 as the Florence G. Strauss-Leonard A. Wisneski Indigenous and Integrative Medicine Collection in recognition of a large donation of items from Len Wisneski, MD.

A small committee of practitioners from the campus and community has overseen the Strauss-Wisneski collection as it has grown. The committee has coordinated lectures that occur on a quarterly basis that focus on various topics and modalities in integrative medicine. Henry was a regular attendee at all committee meetings. His goal was to ensure that, in addition to Western approaches to medicine, people also were aware of complementary health practices and indigenous therapies from around the world that can be useful in addressing health and disease.

As Henry aged and experienced normal aging processes like decreased hearing and mobility difficulties, he still attended as many committee meetings and events as he could. He was always excited to learn something new. If he didn’t think something was right, he would tell you, but he would also listen to your explanation. He had a quick wit, a big smile, and he was a great storyteller. He will be missed. To learn more about Henry Strauss’s remarkable history, see his obituary and the recording of the service Henry’s family held for him on April 11, 2021.