Jesse W. Strong found it funny, while walking to work, to pretend to stumble into poles and street signs _ just to amuse drivers and himself.
When he left for college, the employees at the market where he worked gave him a plaque that read, "Happiest Man Alive." While in Iraq he'd recite entire pieces of dialogue from "Rocky" just to make the other Marines laugh.
Strong, 24, of Irasburg, Vt., died Jan. 26 in an ambush northeast of Baghdad. He was based at Lynchburg.
He was a 2003 Liberty University graduate and went on to Southeastern Seminary in Charlotte, N.C.
He pretended to trip when he graduated from Liberty University. So his father, in tribute, stumbled up the steps to the podium to introduce the Rev. Jerry Falwell at his son's funeral. "I had to do that for Jesse," said the Rev. Nathan Strong. He also is survived by his mother, Vicki.
"If he had a bad day he didn't show it," said graduate student Linley Harrison, a friend.
Strong also was known for his impersonations, from Elmo and Big Bird to one of the men he admired most _ Jerry Falwell.
"Your son was unusual," Falwell told Strong's parents.