Photo of Jim Streng Jim Streng and his wife, Mary Jo, made a planned gift in support of the UC Davis Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science, attributable to Jim's successful cataract removal surgery several years ago.

In the Sacramento region, the Streng family name has iconic significance. Between 1957 and 1986, Streng Bros. Homes, operated by Jim and his brother, Bill, built 3,800 modernistic homes in Sacramento and Yolo counties.

Jim Streng placed his imprint on the region not only in the neighborhoods he and his brother built, but also by setting public policy. Jim served as a member of the Sacramento County Planning Commission, which led to his 1986 election to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, on which he served until 1992. He was instrumental in the adoption of a countywide smoking restriction ordinance and a sale tax increase to help fund improvements in roads and public transit.

Less public, though, has been Jim's involvement with UC Davis Health System. Since 1996, he and his wife, Mary Jo, have been members of the UC Davis Health System Leadership Council, a group of 260 supporters and donors who help provide scholarships for medical students and act as ambassadors for the institution.

Earlier this year, the couple became part of another elite UC Davis group — the Heritage Circle — by virtue of naming UC Davis a beneficiary of their estate. They designated their planned gift for the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science, attributable to Jim's successful cataract removal surgery several years ago.

"Although complications could have occurred in my case, none did. Following the surgery, I was able to see better than I ever did," Jim said.

In late May, he underwent cardiac bypass and aortic valve replacement surgery at UC Davis. "His recovery is going very well," said Mary Jo, a singer who performs with several local jazz bands.

Streng homes were distinguished by flat or low-pitched gable rooflines, open floor plans, generous use of glass, and rectangular design elements that epitomized the ideal of sleek 1950s modernism, reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright designs. Streng homes built nearly a half-century ago remain prized for their design integrity.

The Streng brothers no longer build homes and, instead, manage warehouses and office buildings. Moreover, with their estate plans in place, Jim and Mary Jo, who live in Fair Oaks, are spending time with their three sons and five grandchildren, all of whom live in the Sacramento area.

"I have been extremely pleased since I switched my medical care to the UC Davis Medical Group. I believe that Sacramento's two greatest attributes are the American River Bike Trail and the UC Davis Health System," said Jim.