We are sorry to hear the passing of Bill Strickland. Bill and his wife Lee were fixtures at many conventions and an immense help to Mother Merc Jean Trousdale. They were co-hosts of the Oklahoma convention. Bill started highpointing at age 70 and did 31 highpoints. Below is his obituary.
Col. William “Bill” Harmon Strickland, Jr. passed away at the age of 90 on December 15, 2011.
Born in Walters, Oklahoma on September 27th, 1921, he was the oldest of four children belonging to Harmon and Blanche Calyer Strickland. He attended school as a small boy in Grandfield, Oklahoma and Burkburnett, Texas, and graduated from Lawton High School in 1939. While attending Cameron College he joined the Oklahoma 45th Reserve Band, which was mobilized in September of 1940. He attended OCS (Officer Candidate School) in 1942 and became a second lieutenant, serving in WWII and Korea, eventually receiving the rank of Colonel.
He was an instructor in field artillery at Fort Sill and the 4155th USAR in Oklahoma City, a battalion commander for units in the 435th, 95th, and a quartermaster unit of 360 units. He graduated from Industrial War College and Command and General Staff College. After active duty he continued in the Reserves and performed many staff duties, including G3 Staff Officer of Transportation at the Pentagon. Many men who served under his command described him as “the best officer they had the pleasure to serve with.” He commanded respect by showing respect, and treated every individual as a person of worth.
His many civic duties included Civic Improvement Council, Treasurer of the Association of College and University Housing Officials, and southwest president of ACHO. He was director of housing at Oklahoma University from 1962 to 1967. At that time he implemented the building of Kratelli Apartments and the residential towers. From 1967 to 1973 he was the director of housing for University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
He was an alumni of OU, having graduated in 1950 as a mechanical engineer, and was honored with the engineering award of Knight of St. Pat. A long-time supporter of the Salvation Army, he served as president of the Board of Directors, and remained an active member for many years until illness limited his participation.
On April 4th, 1942, he married Athalea (Lee) Littlefield of Fletcher, Oklahoma, a marriage that would endure nearly 70 years. They had two children, James Strickland and Kathy Strickland Milner. He lived to see the birth of four grandchildren, Kevin and Kellie Milner, and Athalea Strickland Bradley and Hillary Strickland Budreau; the addition of Patricia Shea, Amanda Sochor Milner, Brad Bradley and Jeremy Budreau by marriage; and the births of five great-grandchildren, Grace and William Milner, Annalea Bradley, and Troy and Joslyn Budreau,
Not one to stay inactive, after retirement he became a realtor and was president of the Board of Realtors in Norman, Oklahoma. He was a member of the First Baptist Church, ROA, and very active in Highpointers, a hiking and climbing club. He hiked to the top of 31 mountains in the continental US, most of them after the age of 70. He loved to travel and, with Lee, visited every state in the union except Hawaii, as well as most of the Provinces of Canada in their RV. He involved later generations in many of these trips, and instilled in his family a deep love of the outdoors and of history.
He was preceded in death by both parents and a sister Carrie Marie. He is survived by his wife, Athalea (Lee) of almost 70 years, his children James and Kathy; four grandchildren and their spouses, Kevin and Amanda Milner, Athalea Strickland and Brad Bradley, Kellie Milner, and Hillary Strickland and Jeremy Budreau; Five great-grand children, Grace and William Milner, Troy and Joslyn Budreau, and Annalea Bradley; two sisters, Bea Sheely and Jane McLuen; one brother Dan; nephews Larry, David, Bill and Mike Sheely; and niece Mary Bruel.
He was a great man that inspired many in his lifetime by his character, humility and sense of duty and honor. He treated all he met with respect and went out of his way to help anyone in need. His humor, his smile and his wonderful stories will be dearly missed.
In lieu of flowers donations to the Salvation Army would be appreciated.
Top: Bill gets his 5 patch on Mount Davis from Jean Trousdale on August 16, 1997.
Bottom:Bill roped to his wife Lee on Campbell Hill in August 1997