Jonathan, you will always be in our hearts.
  • Born on June 19, 1951 in Kingston, New York, United States.
  • Passed away on February 9, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

This website was created in memory of our beloved husband and father, Jonathan Strongin.  We will love him forever.

If considering flowers, Jonathan said he would prefer expressions of condolences to go towards student scholarships at the Northfield-Mount Hermon School, where he developed much of his identity and many of his lifelong values. Jonathan was thankful to have received a scholarship there.

 https://community.nmhschool.org/NMHFund

Posted by Barbara Levine on 15th February 2019
Dr. Strongin was my Pulmonologist for many years. I am sorry to hear of his passing and had no idea that the battle he was waging was worse than the one he was helping me wage. Reading here makes me realize that if we were not Dr. and patient we perhaps could have been friends. The interests we share are uncanny. As patients we don't often give much thought to our Dr's as people with lives of their own - I'm glad he had a full one of family, friends and travels. RIP Dr. Strongin. Barbara Levine
Posted by Jonathan Licht on 15th February 2019
I was fortunate to be in a small group in anatomy class with Jon at Columbia where he led us through laboratory exercises with humor and cheer. I remember being inspired by lectures of his thesis work in anthropology and the life that he lived and fieldwork he performed before he went into medicine. I was fortunate to be a resident with Jon at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston we shared many patients and late night meals together. His humanity and technical skills were uniquely balanced. May his memory be a blessing for his family and friends I’m glad to add a few words of tribute to this extraordinarily talented and versatile man.
Posted by Robert Linderman on 15th February 2019
Writing about Jon’s passing is hard for so many reasons; words can’t really express the feelings of love and friendship one has for another and then the sense of loss and grieving when the person behind those feelings is gone. If I tell you that Jon and I became friends because our boarding school, Mt. Hermon, blessed us with a common vocabulary, or because we shared, with Bob Longley, a love of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, will that help you understand why we enjoyed each other’s company so much? If I confess to you that it took a chance encounter 40 years after we first met for us to become friends, will that bring everything into focus? Not really, but words are the only way I can share my feelings with you even though they feel wholly inadequate. Jon and I first knew one another at Mt. Hermon but not well – we traveled in different circles and neither of us were the easiest kids in the world to get to know. After graduation we went our separate ways, Jon eventually settling in Boston and me in San Francisco; we didn’t see one another until, quite by accident, we found ourselves sitting together at a class of ’69 mini-reunion dinner our San Francisco contingent hosted back in 2012. I suppose we were both a bit guarded – after all, it had been more than 40 years since we last saw one another – but the sharp edges of adolescence had become softer with time and we wound up spending the entire evening talking, laughing, becoming friends. It was wonderful, and we spent most of that weekend getting to know one another, for real this time. I’m very grateful for whomever was in charge of the seating chart. Over the past seven years I made it a point to see Jon (and Ellen, when possible) every time I came to Boston, which I did, frequently. We shared so many things – a love of great food, good wine, corny music, dogs (even though, while they were picking me up at my hotel, Raul ate the leg of lamb that they were planning to serve for dinner one night) and family – that conversation was always easy, never forced. He spoke openly of his illness and I marveled at the grace and dignity with which he dealt with his condition. I learned of his work and was awed by the compassion and dedication he brought to his patients. We talked about politics and human nature and he never failed to be thoughtful and incisive. We talked about music and even played guitar together once – never enough. We talked about family and neither of us ever tired of boasting to the other about our children and their accomplishments. We talked as friends do, and I will miss that as you all can understand. Jon was an exceptional person, an old and wise soul and a great friend. I’m better for having known him and I will miss him profoundly.
Posted by Bryan S on 14th February 2019
My favorite memories of my Uncle Jonathan are from Thanksgiving at the big house and the wood house. I always looked forward to Thanksgiving because it was fun and the food was great, but most of all because I got to see family. Spending time with Uncle Jonathan was a very important part of Thanksgiving for me. No matter how much everyone else talked to him, he always spent time with me. I miss him already and know I will miss him even more at Thanksgiving. His nephew, Bryan
Posted by Paul Greenfield on 12th February 2019
Jonathan and I met at the Winthrop Hospital. We immediately connected when we realized we shared the same passions for family, fine food, wine and music. When my wife and I met Ellen we had a nice vibe and shared many memorable times together. None of us are great at planning so be it connecting at Newcomb Hollow beach, a weekend at our home on Chappaquiddick, a spontaneous show or a great meal at a restaurant or home, our times were filled with warmth and humor. Life has its demands and after our days were spent elsewhere we'd always seem to pick up from where we left off. In retrospect, these times were too few. I often think that our lives are like spokes in a wheel bound by the hub. His binding force will be missed. Paul and Marcia Greenfield
Posted by Rob Longley on 11th February 2019
I actually met Jon for the first time before we arrived at MH in the Fall of '66. We took the SSAT together the previous spring, along with a group of otherwise unmemorable young people at the Albany Academy for Boys. He showed up a few minutes late, which was why we both recalled that particular event. Jon and I lived on the top floor of “Puck's” house sophomore year with three others. “Puck”was Mr. Piskuskas, an MH math prof with a family, and thus accorded a house. I had a single and I had to walk through Jon's room to get to mine. As his was the largest room on that top floor, the five of us tended to gather there. From the start we were all drawn to Jon. He was smart and had a great sense of humor, and you could tell that he was just downright decent (and he had a stereo). What impressed me the most, though, at that time, was his ability as a folk musician. He could play the guitar, sing boisterously, knew dozens, perhaps hundreds of songs, and had a prodigious knowledge of all things folk music. For my part, I knew three chords on the banjo, was too shy to do more than squeak out a few notes when singing, and had the rather quaint idea that the Turtles were the foremost folk musicians of the times. Encountering Jon and his music left me gobsmacked. He changed my life. Not many people you can say that about. Of all the folk acts that Jon introduced me to, the one that has brought me the most joy over the years was the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. Over the last fifty-plus years Jon and I have shared our enjoyment of the Jug Band, and one of the times that we got together in recent years was for a Kweskin reunion performance at Passim in Cambridge. I'm not sure that my ears would have been opened to the richness of folk music had it not been for Jon, and for that I am truly grateful. Jon also had a love for Cape Cod, my Summer home for nearly fifty years now. Two years ago we sat on the deck of a restaurant in Wellfleet, beers in hand, contemplating the harbor, both of us agreeing that “this is as good as it gets.” And it was. And I'm glad I got to spend some of that “good as it gets” time with Jon.
Posted by Michael Payne on 11th February 2019
For Whom the Bell Tolls by John Donne No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own Or of thine friend's were. Each man's death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee. He was an amazing man. He will be greatly missed.
Posted by Leonard Schlossberg on 11th February 2019
I met Jon the first day of Freshman orientation at Columbia in the fall of 1969. Our dorm was an impersonal, cinder block structure that well symbolized the huge university still reeling from the the 1968 student revolt that brought police, violence, and notoriety to the campus. Still, people found each other. Jon had been an oarsman at Mount Hermon and rallied a few of us including my roommate George Sands and Jerry Weiner, who was to become Jon's lifelong friend, to join the rather motley Freshman crew. Jon was a great organizer, and cheerleader for worthwhile activities amidst a chaotic college environment. As he did throughout his life, Jon stood out at Columbia. While initially dabbling in pre-med, his broad interests led him to the Humanities and Social Sciences including Economics, Philosophy, and ultimately Anthropology. His willingness to speak out in class, challenging the professors was admired by the introverts among us. His intelligence, candor, and humor drew people to him. A very talented guitarist, he drew a devoted following to his folk concerts at a small chapel turned weekend coffee house on campus. He disc jockeyed a great folk music show on the college radio station which reached well beyond the campus boundaries. Fun times included many evenings pouring drinks for the college bartending agency at $5 per hour. We both eventually got around to becoming doctors. While he established himself and loved Boston, I moved to Minneapolis and eventually to Florida. There were weekend reunions of our Columbia group in New York and Naples. Ellen and Jon graciously prepared dinners during my occasional Boston trips, featuring great salads and visits to the wine cellar. She and Jon visited us in Naples where one of his sisters lived in the winter. There were phone conversations in which we critiqued the New York Times columnists, discussed mystery novels, and tried to save the world, while his illness increasingly taxed him. Jon's support and encouragement helped me tremendously during some very difficult times during the Columbia years. His friendship always meant so much to me. I will miss him, but will continue to feel his presence. May he rest in peace.
Posted by Ace Gilbert on 10th February 2019
Jonathan was a classmate at Northfield Mt Hermon, though we didn't know each other well. I knew him well enough to experience his qualities expressed here by friends. Death, is a fact of life - but Jonathan's life reminds me of the sentiment: "Life will go on without him - it just wont' be the same."
Posted by Nancy Liu on 10th February 2019
Victor and I met Jon and Ellen through our mutual friends, Diane and Bruce. We remember Ben’s first birthday party with Jessica and Sam, and of course in attendance, the doting new parents. Although we did not see each other often, when we did, we were always stimulated by Jon’s wide range of knowledge aside from medicine, in literature, travels, music, and wine. Over the years, whether it was months before we see each other in Boston or Wellfleet, Jon made it easy to re-establish our connection, especially over a good meal. Victor, Miriam and I happened to be on Cape Cod this Saturday when we heard of Jon’s passing. We took a detour and went to Newcomb Hollow, the Wellfleet beach where we often met on summer vacations, to honor his memory . He will be sadly missed by our family. Victor, Nancy, Ben, Miriam and Rebecca
Posted by David Shaffer on 10th February 2019
Eugenie Kroop, Susan’s mother, remembers Jon fondly for his steady supply of thrillers and mystery novels which he gave to her in Truro to read. She also affectionately remembers she and Thelma, Jon’s mother, pushing Ben and Jessica on the swings in Brookline.
Posted by Bruce Kohrman on 9th February 2019
In an ICU in Cambridge, I met a guy from New York more recently from the Peruvian Amazon, village of Machigenka, who liked to play with ventilators. Friends! We crawled all over Boston from one wine store to another, hunting affordable bottles and more importantly, free tastings; for some lost reason the Italian red Campo Fiorin amused us. We ate clams and mussels and Jon produced Sancerre. In Kenya we ate ourselves sick although Ellen and Diane forbade the zebra. Our families were in sync: endocrinologists and babies, then careers and, then so grown up – a real house in Brookline. Jon knew all the galleries in Wellfleet and yearly led the tour: when we could, we bought Grillo and Horowitz at the Cove. A great listener, deep thinker, proud father and husband -- and truest of friends -- Jon, I will miss you forever. Bruce
Posted by Barbara Sharp on 9th February 2019
Jon was in my medical school class and both Jon and Ellen became lifelong friends. We sat in the same part of the classroom and supported each other through the ups and downs and a group of us enjoyed celebratory camping trips at the end of semesters. Although our jobs and training brought us miles apart, we enjoyed getting together in Boston and Wellfleet and enjoyed visits from them in Connecticut, San Francisco and Florida. I remember when Jon and Mat took our family on the Freedom Trail in Boston which we really enjoyed. Jon was such a sensitive and thoughtful person, well read and loved to travel, which unfortunately was limited by his illness. He loved his family and always talked about Matt and Jessica, their activities and was so proud of them. We feel such a loss. Ellen, you are in our hearts and thoughts now as you have to face the coming days. I hope you know you can call or visit any time. We look forward to many more shared times with you.
Posted by David Shaffer on 9th February 2019
So many fond memories of Jon dating back to medical school. After class or rotations we often ran from our Haven Ave apartments across the GW Bridge and back-often at night, in the dark, and in the winter, in the days before Gortex and "technical" running gear. From there to residency training in Boston, medical practice, having and raising kids together, carpooling to Runkle, families together in Brookline, the Cape, and the Berkshires, Bar/Bat Mitvahs and weddings-our dear friend for 40 years. Kind, loving, intelligent, thoughtful-I will always remember and cherish our wide ranging conversations about politics, books, music, sports, travel, family and kids, whether in beach chairs under an umbrella on Fisher, over a glass of wine in a Boston restaurant, or across the kitchen table in Brookline. Jon, we will miss you terribly-Susan, David, Ben and Robyn
Posted by Ed Nardell on 9th February 2019
The Newcomb Hollow beach pictures capture my memories of Jon best. I will look for more. We never lived far apart in the Boston area, but it has always been Wellfleet where for almost 35 years we had the time to relax and spend a LOT of time together. Our kids were close enough in age to share the parenting experiences of schools, college, social life and marriages. For the Strongin and Nardell families, there is only one beach in Wellfleet - Newcomb Hollow. Invariably from early Summer to early Fall the routine would be to agree upon an arrival time, right or left side, and then search out among the sea of umbrellas that of the other family. Hours would then pass discussing life, work, music, movies, our kids, our dogs, and importantly, the latest books we were all reading - and few are as well-read as was Jon. Invariably, dinners would alternate between our homes, but the menu, almost always grilled fish, was deliciously predictable. The appetizers, side dishes, and wine varied. Dinner was sometimes followed by board games, our favorite being "Taboo". While the Strongin household was enviably stable over the years before Jon's illness, the Nardell family had its ups and downs, with a divorce, the death of Madeline, and my new relationships, first with another woman, and now a man. Through all of this our friendship actually grew stronger, as confidences were offered and received with unvarying understanding and support. It was only the summer before last when I woke up with the worst back pain of my life due to muscle spasm. I was alone in Wellfleet and I could not move. Of course, Jon, with his own discomforts, and Ellen came and drove me through summer traffic to Cape Cod Hospital where they waited till a decision was made to admit me for pain control. Jon and I also had professional ties over many years working as pulmonologists in the Cambridge Hospital system, where Jon started his post-graduate training. While he was in different clinical practice, Jon literally made possible my academic career by offering to cover my clinical duties routinely when I was traveling in the US and abroad - with no pay back of any kind! I would not have had the academic career that I have had without his gracious support. Extraordinary as I think back on it. Who does that? To me, not only has my life changed irrevocably with Jon's passing, but in truth, Wellfleet will never be the same for me and my family. He wasn't able to travel to Wellfleet at all last summer - which I took as a very bad sign - there was nowhere more he wanted to be. But it was a prelude to a summers in Wellfleet without Jon. Losing Jon is devastating for his family, friends, and colleagues, but at least his considerable suffering over the last several years has ended. He was loved and he is missed, may he rest in peace. Ed

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