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shorelines | PROFILE

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omfortable in the wild blue yonder or making big calls in huge NFL stadiums, Bruce Stritesky has long been most at home on Smith Mountain Lake’s serene waters. The Roanoke native was a lake regular as a kid, and he bought his first property here in 1982, just three years out of high school. “There’s something about being on the water that’s just peaceful,” said Stritesky, echoing a feeling Lakers know well. “I like just looking at the water, having a cup of coffee. It’s so tranquil, especially in the mornings.” Stritesky can use that peaceful feeling. For a good portion of the year, Sundays have a whole different aura, when he works around the country calling football games in front of screaming fans.

“I like just looking at the water, having a cup of coffee. It’s so tranquil, especially in the mornings.” Bruce Stritesky

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“You get chill bumps on the back of your neck when the crowd gets into it,” he said. “Some of these stadiums get pretty loud, and it’s a lot of fun.” Beyond working his way to the top of the officiating profession, the soft-spoken Stritesky has certainly earned those tranquil mornings on the lake. While he may seem, and certainly considers himself, a fortunate man, like many so blessed, success didn’t find Stritesky: he actively pursued it. Just two weeks out of Northside High School, Stitesky cleared himself for take-off out of Roanoke, heading to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., to train as a pilot. He had been flying since he was 13 and fondly remembers heading out to Roanoke’s old Woodrum Field on Sundays after church to watch planes come and go. “I just knew that’s what I wanted to do, and it’s amazing what you can do if you want something,” he said with a laugh. In 1981, Stritesky accepted a job with Piedmont Airlines back home in Roanoke and soon teamed up with a fellow pilot to buy a townhome at The Waterfront, another goal achieved early. He married

Smith Mountain Laker JanFeb2012  

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