Wickliff Auctioneers will close at 3pm, Friday, February 10, and I will attend the visitation for my friend, auctioneer Herman Strakis (1922 – 2017).
A link to Herman’s obituary is below, but it does not accurately convey Herman’s commitment to the profession of auctioneering. Even though I only worked with Herman for a couple years, we saw each other regularly at events for the Indiana Auctioneer’s Association. Herman was not only a member of IAA, he was a FOUNDING member of IAA. The first meetings to discuss formation of a professional association of auctioneers in Indiana were held at Herman’s house, in the 1950s. Throughout his auction career, he was always recruiting new members to the association, and regularly espoused the importance of actively being involved, as doing so had significant impact on the member’s own growth and advancement, but also served the greater good- the development of the public’s perception of auctioneering as a profession, not a sideline or hobby.
Herman worked auctions well into his 80s, and only in the last few years did he slow down. I remember meeting him for the first time, the late 1990s, when I worked with he and Tom Mascari. Thinking to myself that an auction legend like Herman wouldn’t probably have much interest in a cocky auctioneer from Columbus, IN, I was quickly proven wrong when Herman began to share with me about the past and future of the auction business, how things had changed, but also how they hadn’t. He also wanted to hear from me about my journey in the auction business and what I was doing. Herman was willing and eager to share his experience and wisdom, not for his benefit, but for the benefit of the rest of us. In 2013, when I chaired the inaugural IAA Leadership Academy, we invited Herman to sit on a panel of three to impart upon the attendees some of the history of the IAA. The purpose of the class was to impact the future of the IAA, through it’s new leaders- to let them know where the IAA had been, to help inform where we’re going. Herman, Jack Christy, and my father, Tom Lawson, all shared their wisdom and experiences with the class, and folks appreciated hearing from them. I also always enjoyed seeing, and visiting with, Herman at annual conventions.
Clearly illustrated in the obituary (link below) is the fact that Herman knew the Lord, and that he also gave of his time and treasure to the church, school and community. He was a Marine, serving his country honorably in WWII as a machine gunner in the Pacific theatre. Herman was one of the great ones, and now he receives his crown.