Full Life of a Real Gentleman - Page 2

Esteemed builder Jim Streng leaves us a rich legacy warmed by a heart of gold
Fridays on the Homefront
Jim and Bill never believed in controlling their homeowners in what they could do to their homes. Photo courtesy Streng family archive

What's more, for many years both Strengs lived in their own built neighborhoods, among the actual homeowners they sold to. "The fact that Jim and Bill lived in small developments in tract homes, while other developers may have felt that they were too good to live there, that said something," says Weinstein.

An extremely active man, Jim was still riding his bike and doing cross-country skiing at age 90. Active in community affairs and non-profits, he always made a positive difference, whether serving on the board of the American Lung Association, or through his work with the American River Parkway Foundation.

Over the course of his career, Jim remained involved with the regional builders association, for which he served as president. In 1996, he was inducted (along with brother Bill) into the Builders Hall of Fame, the same year he was selected Sacramento's 'Citizen of the Year.'

Fridays on the Homefront
Jim and Bill: pilgrims for a day. Photo courtesy Streng family archive

During the mid-1970s, Jim served as a zoning administrator and planning commissioner, and by the next decade was elected to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. At that point, he ended his homebuilding career and launched into a successful political career, where he earned a reputation for hard work and fairness.

"As a supervisor, Jim was trying to prevent sprawl in Sacramento, but there were forces he couldn't control," says Weinstein. "[It's interesting that] he and Bill were both conservative Republicans [in an era when] a lot of people behind modern housing were liberal."

"One thing he told me once," added Weinstein, "was that he and Bill never believed in controlling people in what they could do to their homes. However, Jim regretted seeing what things had been done to many of the homes he built, though most Streng neighborhoods have been preserved pretty well, better than Eichlers."

Jim, who was preceded in death by brother Bill in 2021 at age 94, was beloved by family, which included wife Mary Jo and sons Steve, Phil, and Blake; those who worked with him; and so many of his Streng homeowners. He leaves behind a rich legacy warmed by his heart of gold.

Fridays on the Homefront
Jim and wife Mary Jo, 2005. Photo: David Toerge

"Jim Streng was kind of a man of the earth," says Weinstein. "The kind of guy you just felt comfortable being in his presence. Nothing about him was pretentious. He didn't try to wow you or brag—he really did the opposite."

"Jim lived an incredible life," added son Steve. "He touched the lives of all who were lucky enough to know him. He was humble, honest, kind, and fair to everyone he encountered."

For more reflection, click here for an Eichler Network profile of Jim Streng from 2005, here for a profile of Streng Bros. Homes, and here for a video of the the company's history.

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