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John J. Stretch, Ph.D.: 1935-2022

06/01/2022

John J. Stretch, Ph.D., former assistant dean for the School of Social Work at Saint Louis University, died Friday, May 20, 2022. He was 87.

Stretch was born on Feb. 24, 1935, in St. Louis. In 1957, Stretch received an associate's degree in philosophy from Maryknoll College. 

He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1958 and served two years of active duty. He served in the reserves as a commissioned social work officer until 1972. 

John J. Stretch, Ph.D.: 1935-2022
John J. Stretch, Ph.D.: 1935-2022.

He earned his Master of Social Work from Washington University in 1961 and received his doctorate in social work from Tulane University in 1967. He earned a master of business administration from Saint Louis University in 1980.

Stretch began his teaching career at Tulane University in 1967 before coming to SLU in August 1969 as an associate professor. He was named a full professor in 1972 and the director of the social work program in 1973, a role he held until 1994. From 1976 to 1987, Stretch was the assistant dean for the School of Social Work. 

While at SLU, Stretch’s research interests included homelessness, management and natural disaster; planning, evaluation and management in health and human service, funding, and planning organizations. He was an expert on welfare reform, homelessness and housing issues. 

Stretch worked with many groups, including the Center for Social Justice, Missouri State Department of Social Service, Missouri Association for Social Welfare Low Income Housing and Homelessness Board Task Force, United Way of Greater St. Louis and The Salvation Army Family Haven.

While a consultant to The Salvation Army, Stretch developed a Continuum of Care for homelessness and affordable housing. The model was replicated in the State of Missouri and nationally.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara (Stewart) Stretch; his children Paul (Alicia Richards), Leonmarie Benner (Greg Mason), Sylvan Schulz (Dan), Adrienne, Sharon DeVries (Kevin), Margaret, and Thomas; Marilee Milroy, the mother of five of his children; siblings Pat Moeslein (Charlie), and Joe Stretch (Debbie); 14 grandchildren; two great-grandsons; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Burial will be at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Catholic Mass and memorial services are pending.

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