Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier announced late Sunday that he is recovering and happy to be alive following emergency heart surgery.
“I’ve been hospitalized with a nearly completely blocked left anterior descending artery to my heart,” Strohmaier wrote on his Facebook page. “After a couple stents, I’m on the mend, and glad that I’m above ground.”
“This thin veneer of life enveloping the planet – which we’re celebrating today on Earth Day – is fragile,” he said. “Our lives, too, are fleeting, can change on a dime, even when you think you are fit and don’t have an inkling that death might be knocking on your door.”
Strohmaier said he is at St. Patrick Hospital and Health Sciences Center in Missoula, and may be “a little slow in responding to emails or phone calls the next few days.”
“Please hang in there,” he said. “I hope to get fully back in the saddle as soon as I can.”
Surviving such an unexpected and serious medical emergency, Strohmaier encouraged his friends and constituents to be thankful for their lives and loved ones.
“To those who you love, don’t hesitate telling them so,” he wrote in his Facebook message. “When confronted with holding a grudge or showing kindness, choose the latter. Life in all its profusion is short, and I feel blest with friends, family, and the opportunity to spend another day in the Last Best Place.”
Strohmaier’s announcement brought a flurry of “get well soon” messages to his post, as well as offers of help from friends, colleagues and local citizens.
“Take care of yourself Dave,” wrote Susan Kohler, director of Missoula Aging Service. “Sorry to hear about your health issues and glad they caught nefore you had heart damage.”
“Omgoodness, I had no idea,” wrote Missoula City Councilwoman Julie Armstrong. “You seem like you’re in a great frame of mind and knowing you, you will heal quickly.”
“Speedy recovery! Have a couple stents myself,” wrote former state legislator Cliff Larsen. “Love modern medicine.”
A former Missoula City Council member, Strohmaier was elected to the county commission in November 2016 on the Democratic ticket.
He is a former BLM employee and longtime employee of Historical Research Associates in Missoula. He and his wife Gretchen have lived in Missoula since 1997, when they moved here to attend the University of Montana.
In 2015, Strohmaier and several colleagues formed a new business called Three21 Innovations LLC, focusing on digital solutions for the humanities.