BYU’s director of construction leaves campus legacy

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The BYU community lost a hard working employee and respected leader who was responsible for construction developments all over campus.

J. Michael Stratton, the director of construction at BYU, passed away Sept. 1 after a hard fought battle against cancer.

Mr. Stratton was the director of construction at BYU for 23 years. According to his obituary in the Daily Herald, before he started working at BYU in 1989, he was employed by Broderick & Howell Construction. He held a superintendent position, supervising many projects. Some of the building projects he oversaw while at BYU were the Joseph F. Smith Building, the Museum of Art, the Indoor Practice Facility and the BYU Broadcasting Building.

Lisa Ward, who was his secretary for the last four and a half months, said, “it was an honor working with him.”

Ward, along with other BYU Physical Facilities employees, felt it was a privilege to know him.

Craig Lybbert, a construction project coordinator, had the chance to work with Mr. Stratton for 34 years.

He explained Mr. Stratton as someone who was soft spoken, organized and admired greatly by colleagues. Lybbert further elaborated that everything he did, he did for others and that he was an example to many.

When describing his work philosophy, Lybbert said, “No matter who [Stratton] was working with, he treated everyone with respect.”

Jim Dain, the managing director of buildings, transportation and grounds, said Stratton “always had a warm smile.”

Dain said when Stratton wasn’t working, he loved spending time with his family, riding his horse and skiing. He also described Stratton as someone who was always honest, fair and kind.

“He always wanted to make sure BYU was treated fairly and that the contractor was treated fairly,” Dain said.

He also was extremely careful in making sure buildings were built correctly, according to plans and specifications, Dain said.

Lybbert described Stratton as someone who was more concerned about others than himself. He was in a lot of pain the last few years of his life, but did not want anyone to know because he did not want the focus to ever be on him.

“He lit up the most when he talked about his grandkids,” Lybbert said.

Stratton is survived by his wife, two children and their spouses as well as his five grandchildren.

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