Benjamin Blake Strickler III, 89, of McMinnville died Thursday, Aug. 1 at home with his family.
Born Dec. 7, 1923 to parents Benjamin Blake Strickler Jr. and Mary Jane Patteson Strickler in Harrisonburg, Va., he was retired from a career in the U.S. Navy of 24 years, which included World War II and service in the Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict. Following his military career he worked for the Centers for Disease Control and then with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a food and nutrition specialist. He was a member of First United Methodist Church, a 50-year member of the Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, and active in the Republican Party.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Mary Yvonne Reynolds Strickler, who died March 3, 2003; and his brother, William Lee Strickler.
He is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Diane Strickler of Franklin; two daughters and sons-in-law, Janet and Richard Stephens of Tallahassee, Fla., and Jolletta and Andy Dean of McMinnville; grandchildren and spouses, Joslin and Will Tidwell, Blake Strickler, Mary and Allen Mathis, Amy and Ian Edgerton, and Benjamin and Leah Dean; and great-grandchildren, Sam and Carter Tidwell, Benjamin and Anna Mathis, Kate and Henry Edgerton, Sammy Jones and Owen Dean.
He faced life and health problems with a sense of humor and a positive attitude. He dearly loved his family, often quoting, “Family comes first for me.” Ben was involved in many civic, political and church affairs. He received three Presidential Awards for Volunteer Service, two from the Senior Center and one from the RSVP.
Tootsie Rolls and roses are what Ben was best known for. Women, especially widows, received a red Christmas rose. His pockets were always full of tootsie rolls ready to be handed out to people he felt were nice to him. He delighted in the smiles of appreciation for such a simple gesture.
A memorial service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church with Rev. James Johnson and Rev. Robert Case officiating. Visitation will be at the church prior to the service at 10 a.m. with interment at Mt. View Cemetery, with High Funeral Home in charge. Full military honors will be administered by VFW Post 5064 and American Legion Post 173, and Masonic Rites conducted by Warren Lodge 125 F&AM.
In lieu of flowers, send memorials to the First United Methodist Church Debt Retirement Fund.
(McMinnville, Tenn.) Aug. 9, 2013