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Roger W. Strickland

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STRICKLAND A pillar of strength in the lives of many and a man who always placed the welfare of others above his own, refusing to compromise his principles regardless of the consequences to himself, Roger W. Strickland, 70, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, 2 February surrounded by loved ones in his home in Jacksonville, FL. Highly skilled in athletics and business, Roger led distinguished careers in both worlds. As one of Florida's most talented athletes, he earned many honors at Bishop Kenny High School including being chosen for All-City, All-State and All-American teams between 1956-58. After attending Notre Dame for two years, Roger transferred to Jacksonville University where he continued to excel in both basketball and baseball, making All-American teams and holding the record for scoring in the nation's small colleges. In 1963 he was the first round draft pick of the LA Lakers - seventh pick overall in the NBA draft. He was inducted into the State of Florida, City of Jacksonville, Jacksonville University, and Palm Beach County Sports Halls of Fame. Roger enjoyed a successful 27-year career with Bell South, retiring in 1991 as Vice President of Marketing. A leader in civic affairs in several communities during that career, he holds the unusual distinction of having served as General Campaign Chairman of United Way in three different Florida communities, Palm Beach County, Jacksonville, and Central Florida/Orlando. Having raised millions of dollars for charity and touching the lives of countless people in need, Roger was a beacon of hope for all. Roger was preceded in death by his mother, Alice (Oakes) Strickland, his father E.L. Strickland, and his namesake and special uncle, Roger C. Strickland. He is survived by his three children, Michael Joseph of Upper Black Eddy, PA, Douglas Francis of Encinitas, CA, and Rebecca Anne of Orlando, FL, and his granddaughter Scarlett of Encinitas, CA. Roger is also survived by his loving companion of many years, Jeri Helms, and the mother of his children, Harriett Hathaway Strickland, as well as his siblings Theresa Langrehr of Wilmington, DE, Alice Fitzgerald of Niantic, CT, Edward Strickland of Orlando, FL, Lynn Vitalo of Wilmington, DE, Brad Strickland of Delaware City, DE, and Donna Di Angelis of Rehobeth, DE. Roger lived a fulfilled and happy life, repeating daily the words of Vince Lombardi. "I believe in God and I believe in human decency, but I firmly believe that any man's finest hour - his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear - is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious." Visitation will be held on Friday, 11 February, 6-9:00p at Prince of Peace Catholic Church. The funeral mass will be Saturday, 12 February, 11:00a at Prince of Peace Catholic Church. There will be a private burial. In lieu of flowers, the family is kindly requesting a donation be sent in Roger's memory to the John A. Baldwin Scholarship Fund at Bishop Kenny High School, 1055 Kingman Ave, Jacksonville, FL. 32207 Arrangements are under the direction of George H. Hewell and Son Funeral Home, 4140 University Blvd., S. Jacksonville, FL 32216.
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Published in the Florida Times-Union from Feb. 4 to Feb. 10, 2011
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