Thelma Strausser, the second of seven children born to George and Ada Mae (Wetzel) Strausser, was born August 9, 1913 in Trevorton, PA. Within a few short years of her birth, her family moved to neighboring Coal Township. Thelma’s father George was killed in a mining accident when Thelma was just 13 years of age.
Aside from the mines that took the life of the head of the family, there were few options for employment so the family decided to relocate to Philadelphia. Not only did this move provide more opportunities, but it also moved them to the same neighborhood as Thelma’s grandmother Laura and her family.
Thelma married notorious police figure and numbers runner Max Rothman around 1933 and by 1934 they had their first son, Clair A. Rothman. A year later came their second son George and in 1939 they gave birth to their daughter Maxine.
By 1940 the Rothman family was living in Upper Darby. Tens years later they were living in Millbourne, which is a neighboring community of Upper Darby. I have spoken to an elderly cousin who remembers Thelma and told me stories of taking trips in Thelma’s convertible down to the Rothman’s shore home at the Jersey shore. From pictures I have seen and people I have talked with I, hear over and over again that Thelma was a physically stunning woman who women tried to emulate.
Thelma went missing in the early morning hour of April 11, 1951; her car was found later that same morning on the Strawberry Mansion Bridge. The Philadelphia Police searched the area and Fairmount Park guards dragged the Schuylkill River without success. On April 26, Thelma’s body was found floating in the Schuylkill River five miles from where her car was found.
Official date of death is April, 26, 1951; cause of death is drowning; age 37 years.