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Obituary for Donald Lee Strickland


We have rarely had the chance to recognize the greatness in community service achieved by one of our heroes at KSHN Don Strickland who died last Friday. Very few have had the successful life of Mr. Strickland. Formerly of Liberty, Don died June 27, at the age of 92. His funeral was at his family business, Strickland Funeral Home in Somerville yesterday. Don was successful both in the years he lived and in the quality of life he lived. Don was, by any definition talented, kind, generous and friendly and will be best remembered for his always optimistic spirit and smile. He never met a stranger and was always ready to help others as he did for so many here in Liberty for the many years he lived here.. He filled each day with life, laughter and love. He attended Somerville High School, Blinn College, earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Sam Houston State University and then advanced graduate study at the University of Houston. Don returned to Somerville High School as a coach and in the first faculty meeting, he met his love, Josephine Denham. Don and Jo shared sixty-nine years of marriage as both friends and partners. Their devotion to each other was a powerful testimony to all who surrounded them.  Mr. Strickland is preceded in death by his wife, Jo. Because his life of service is so amazing we decided to share a list of that service with you. It is truly amazing. Don Strickland established leadership in the United Methodist Church, where he filled every position in the conference a layman could. It included service as Delegate, General and Jurisdictional Conference of United Methodist Church; Lay Speaker; Texas Conference Lay Leader, Chairman, Texas Conference Finance and Administration Committee, Chairman, Texas Conference Council on Ministries; Member, Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Lakeview Methodist Assembly; Chairman, Lakeview Methodist Assembly Endowment Committee; Chairman, Lakeview Methodist Assembly 50th Anniversary Celebration; Chairman, Board of Directors Methodist Retirement Services; Chairman, Texas Conference Delegation to General and Jurisdictional Conference.   Chairman, South Central Jurisdiction Council on Finance and Administration; Member, South Central Jurisdiction Executive Committee; Member, South Central Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy; Member, Board of Directors Methodist Home in Waco; Member, Investment Committee for Methodist Home in Waco; and Member, Board and Executive Committee General Council on Ministries. For more than 50 years Don Strickland, formerly of Liberty,   served Rotary in many capacities, including: president of three local clubs; District Governor, Rotary International Forum and Assembly Moderator. He was Sergeant at Arms at the Rotary International Convention; He was a Director, Rotary International He was Vice-President of Rotary International. Don Strickland was Chairman of the 1980 Rotary International Convention on Rotry’s 75th Anniversary; then Moderator, 1982 International Assembly; National Coordinator or the world renowned  Polio Plus and was Moderator of an International Assembly. Mr. Strickland developed civic pride serving his community as President of what was then the Liberty Chamber of Commerce; Chairman of Liberty County Chapter of American Red Cross; Vice-President of Three Rivers Council Boy Scouts of America; then he was Campaign Director for Liberty County March of Dimes; Member, Port of Liberty Board; Chairman of City of Liberty Planning and Zoning Committee; President, Liberty Independent School District Board of Trustees; Chairman, Liberty County Central Appraisal District; Member, Board of Directors of Burleson County Chamber of Commerce; He as Trustee of Philander Smith College; and Member, Board of Directors for the Gulf Coast Trade Center. Other positions of service include: Mayor-City of Somerville; Member, Board of Directors Brazos Valley Council of Governments; Member Brazos Valley Council of Governments Executive Committee; then he was Secretary, Brazos Valley Council of Governments Board of Directors; Chairman, Brazos Valley Council of Governments Audit Committee; Chairman, Brazos Valley Council of Governments Sub-Committee for Regional Water Supply; Don Strickland was Vice-Chairman of  the Brazos Valley Council of Governments Regional Planning Advisory Committee. He was Member, Texas Association of Regional Councils, Legislative and Governor’s Office and Executive Branch Relations Committee; he was Chairman, Texas Municipal League Community and Economic Development Committee;  a Member Texas Municipal League Telecommunication Committee; Member, Texas Attorney General’s Municipal Advisory Committee; and Chairman, Lake Somerville Commission. Don Strickland  was a successful businessman who engaged in a variety of interests including: public school teacher and administrator for 16 years, former owner of Strickland’s Variety and Gift Stores, owner of Strickland Funeral Homes, Director of First Liberty National Bank, owner of Strickland Cattle Company, President of Strickland Investments, Inc. and President of Somerville Investments, LLC. At the end of his literally thousands of speeches, Don closed with An Old Irish Blessing: “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sunshine warm upon your face and the rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand.” Donald Lee’s greatest love was his Lord first, Jo second and family and friends third. He always said, “I’m a member of all the civic, church, professional and education boards, but the one thing I belong to is the Lord.” In lieu of traditional remembrances, memorials may be made to Lakeview Methodist Encampment designated for the Strickland Endowment, 400 Private Road 6036, Palestine, TX 75801 or the  Methodist Children’s Home, 1111 Herring Ave., Waco, TX 76708, or to the Blinn Foundation, or to a charity of your choice.

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