Glenn Strunk: Remembering “The Professor”

Glenn Strunk: Remembering “The Professor”

“The Professor,” Glenn Strunk, fought lung cancer for more than two years. His battle came to end on February 2. Three months earlier, the hospice had told his family he had only a week to live.

“In my eyes, he is the world champion in fighting to live,” older brother and fellow modified driver Jeff Strunk said. “As a racer, he always rose to the challenge.”

Throughout their life, the Strunk brothers had raced each other, from big wheels to go-karts to modifieds. Their grandmother, Edna “Mammy” Strunk, encouraged them all along the way.

“Mammy died a few years back on February 3, and now Glenn on February 2,” said Jeff. “Those two days will forever have special meaning for me.”

The two Strunks often competed at their hometown’s Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania.

“We were very different, even though we came from the same mold and the same place — a great family,” Jeff said. “I was a conservative racer. Glenn was a daredevil.”

One instance exemplified how the Strunk brothers were similar, yet also different.

“It was in 2005 or ’06 that my car owner, Chad Sinon, had a car with a new combo that he wanted me to drive,” said Jeff. “I tried it and told him it wasn’t fast. Glenn jumped in — he was two tenths faster in that car than I was. I passed him, but he passed me back and won the feature.”

Grandview Speedway announcer Ernie Saxton coined Glenn as “The Professor.” He received the nickname not necessarily because he acted like a professor, because he looked like one by wearing wire-rim glasses. After schooling Jeff in Sinon’s car, the name seemed to fit.

“It soon became a family joke that Glenn could teach me how to be faster,” Jeff said. “He always kept me on my toes. He kept me sharp.”

Just before Glenn received his cancer diagnosis, Jimmy Leiby asked him to drive his sportsman modified. On April 17, 2021, Glenn drove into victory lane for the final time. It was a special win for the Strunks, because their father, Bob, was in intensive care battling Covid.

“I never cheered and screamed so much,” said Jeff of watching his brother’s winning race. “When he won that night, it was the happiest night in my lifetime.”

He celebrated that victory with his then-18-year-old daughter, Carlee (pictured).

“Carlee was his pride and joy,” said Jeff. “He loved her and lived for her every day.”

Despite draining cancer treatments, Glenn Strunk kept going to Grandview Speedway.

“For the last two years, Glenn and my dad were at Grandview Speedway every week, sitting in the fourth turn grandstands as spectators, being the avid fans of racing they always were,” Jeff said.

A celebration of life for Glenn Strunk will take place Sunday, February 25, 2024, at the Bechtelsville Fire Company, 1817 North Main St, Bechtelsville, PA 19505.

“It was a long, hard, battle for Glenn,” Jeff Strunk said. “He was a warrior to the end.”