When WOMR presenter Scott Trask introduced himself to Sally Strawn at the First Encounter Coffee House in Eastham, Scott recalls, Sally gave him a smile that was “full of promise.”
That was in 2008. They became a couple in 2014 and married on Dec. 21, 2021.
On May 1, 2022, five months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Sally Strawn died at her Eastham home with her niece Cheryl Knox, best friend Andre Appell, and husband Scott by her side. She was 66.
The fifth child of Wilbur and Wilma Ruth (Hayden) Strawn, Sally was born in DeKalb, Ill. on Oct. 21, 1955. Her arrival was a surprise to her siblings, as she was the youngest child by far, said her brother Hugh. It was evident early on that she had a mind of her own, he added.
In high school, when Sally wanted to go on a camping trip with her boyfriend, her parents denied permission, saying she could not spend the night with him if they were not married. Sally and the boyfriend persuaded their parents to allow them to marry. They enjoyed their camping trip but were divorced 18 months later.
After graduating from DeKalb High School in 1973, Sally enrolled at Beloit College in Wisconsin, later studying nursing in Chicago as well. She earned a bachelor’s degree in 1976 and moved to New York City to continue nursing studies at Pace University. She was certified as a nurse practitioner in 1979.
In New York and later in Boston, Sally’s nursing career alternated between private practice in doctors’ offices and the management of college health centers, where, her brother George said, “she especially liked the fact that she hired and fired the doctors.”
While managing the health center at Lesley University in Cambridge, Sally met Alan Hoffman, a professor of economics. They married and had a son, Maxwell. The marriage ended in divorce.
When Sally and Scott got together in 2014, her siblings knew that this relationship was special. Reflecting on it, George recalled a Hindu myth that held “humans were in the form of a couple embracing. A wicked god cut all the people in half, so we spend our lives looking for our other half,” he said. “It took Sally a long time to find her other half.”
While working in Boston, Sally began spending summers in Eastham, where she rented a house on Candlewood Drive. The neighbors came to love her, Scott said. When one asked if she would like to buy a house on the street, Sally agreed, relocated to Eastham, and took a job with Hope Hospice, where she worked for four years. Even after she and Scott moved off Cape, Sally continued as a visiting hospice nurse through Cape Cod Healthcare until one month before her death.
To escape the Cape in the summer, Sally and Scott bought a cottage on Swan’s Island, Maine, which they were fixing up together.
Throughout her life, Sally remained close to family. While she lived in Boston, her nieces would come for memorable extended visits.
She is survived by her husband, Scott Trask of Eastham; brothers George Strawn of Alexandria, Va. and Hugh Strawn, who lives near Austin, Texas; sister Florence Strawn of DeKalb, Ill.; and son Maxwell Hoffman of New York City.
She was predeceased by her parents and her sister Susie.
A small private funeral was held at the Friends Meeting House in South Yarmouth.
A memorial gathering will be held at the Chapel in the Pines in Eastham on Saturday, May 21 from 2 to 4 p.m. Because Sally loved music, the celebration of her life will include a playlist of her favorite songs as well as live music and champagne.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to community radio station WOMR, via the “support” link on the station’s website.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this obituary, published in print on May 12, included the incorrect time for the May 21 memorial gathering. It will be 2 to 4 p.m.
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