Wallace Patrick “Pat” Strauss, 87, died June 8, 2010, at Penobscot Shores.

He was born March 17, 1923, in St. Louis, the only son of Alvin W. and Helen (Decker) Strauss. The family moved to southern California in the 1930s, and all except Pat have been lifelong residents of the state.

Pat was by choice and experience an historian. He began his college education at the University of California at Berkeley, where he actually began as an engineering major. He left to enter the Army in 1942, and served as an officer in various positions in Honolulu.

After the war, he returned to complete his bachelor’s degree in history at Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1948. A year later he received his master’s degree from Stanford University. After a year’s study in Paris, he went to Columbia University, and met his wife, Laura, while traveling by freighter from Honolulu to Sydney to do research for his doctorate. He received his Ph.D. in 1958, and began his long and successful teaching career, where his specialty was U.S. diplomatic history from Jefferson to Jackson.

He was awarded a Fulbright teaching fellowship three different times, and taught at the University of Hong Kong and the Foreign Studies Institute in Shanghai, China, in addition to posts across the U.S. and Canada and lectures throughout the world. He was honored with many awards for his contributions, and was recognized nationally for his efforts to make the American Association of University Professors the successful bargaining unit it is today.

He was much beloved by his students around the world, and published widely in his field. Although he was offered a fourth Fulbright lectureship in Beijing in 1991, health concerns prevented him from accepting, and he and Laura retired to Belfast.

Once in Belfast, he devoted his time to developing opportunities for the local community. He helped found two local educational programs, the Belfast Institute of Lifelong Learning, which brought the Elderhostel program to Belfast, and Belfast Senior College, a cornerstone of the University of Maine Hutchinson Center.

He was one of the founders and first chairman of the board of directors of the Waldo Community Development Federal Credit Union, later purchased by St. Croix FCU, and helped develop the first New Year’s by the Bay. Pat was an active member and officer of the Belfast Rotary Club, and was honored with the “Outstanding Citizen Award” by the Modern Woodmen in 1998. He was a lifelong stamp collector and local restaurant booster.

Pat was predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Laura.

He is survived by a daughter, Jane, of Northport; a sister, Betty Tolzien, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; and nieces, nephews and their families in California.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his memory to Belfast Senior College, The University of Maine Hutchinson Center, Belfast, ME 04915.

A remembrance celebration for Pat and Laura will be held at a later date.

Arrangements are with Crabiel-Riposta Funeral Home Belfast. Online condolences may be offered to the family at ripostafh.com.