Gary Stritesky
S14 Gary Stritesky
Contestant Profile
Born: September 16, 1951 (1951-09-16) (age 66)
Hometown: Ramsey, Minnesota
Occupation: School Bus Driver
Survivor Career
Version: United States
Tribe(s): Moto
Finish: 16/19
Challenge Wins: 5
Votes Against: 0
Days Lasted: 10

Gary Stritesky (also known as Papa Smurf), is a contestant from Survivor: Fiji.


Retrieved from

Born and raised in Silver Lake, Minnesota, Gary Stritesky attended Silver Lake High School where he participated in football, basketball, track and baseball. He then attended St. Cloud State University and also trained at Brooks Barber School which ignited a 14-year career as a barber. He also participated in a real estate program at Anoka-Ramsey Community College.

Stritesky currently works as a school bus driver and carpenter. He recently built a six-unit townhome complex for senior citizens in Silver Lake, Minnesota. He was previously in the military, stationed in Vietnam for eight months in 1971. He has also worked as a taxi cab driver and landscaper. In 1990, Stritesky spent a year living in Melbourne, Australia, with his family during his wife's teacher exchange program. In 2002, they returned to Perth, Australia, for another year as a result of his wife's second teacher exchange program.

Stritesky has competed in multiple inline skate marathons. He also enjoys biking, canoeing and coaching. He spent many years coaching his children's soccer, baseball, basketball and football teams. At least once a year, Stritesky travels to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, taking part in portaging, canoeing, fishing and enjoying the solitude of the northern Minnesota lakes. He has biked in many areas of Minnesota, including leading a scout group to camp and family trips. He also participated in a cross-country biking adventure while in Australia.

Stritesky currently resides in Ramsey, Minnesota with his wife of 34 years, Diane. They have four children, Aaron, Alison, Leah and Kara and two grandchildren. His pet bulldog, Dobber, recently passed away. They have since adopted Harley and Blaze, two miniature dachshunds, and just returned their pet snapping turtle, Snappy, to the wilderness. Stritesky's birth date is September 16, 1951.[1]


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Voting History

Gary's Voting History
Episode Gary's
Voted Against
1 Moto Tribe Immune
2 Moto Tribe Immune
3 Moto Tribe Immune
4 No Tribal Council
Quit, Day 10


  • On January 9, 2010, Gary attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party.


  • Gary was the only Fiji contestant to apply for the show, as the other contestants, including Mellisa McNulty, were recruited.
  • Gary is the first contestant from Minnesota.
  • Gary is the oldest contestant on Survivor: Fiji.
  • Before the tribes were assigned, the 19 castaways had selected Gary himself and Sylvia as the people who were seen as leaders. Jeff then gave the two a bag and the person who picked the white rock would assign the tribes.
  • Gary is the first contestant to quit the game due to a medical reason. He was later followed by Dana Lambert in Survivor: Philippines.
  • Gary is one of five contestants to never attend Tribal Council, along with Jonathan Libby, Wanda Shirk, Kourtney Moon, and Dana Lambert.