Thurman Benton Strode, 81, of Bakersfield, Calif., passed away unexpectedly but peacefully in his sleep on May 22, 2019. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clifton and Mary Shockley Strode; and siblings Estie “Jack” Strode, Howard Clifton Strode, Fred Lee, Ralph Strode, James Clinton Strode, and Fred Shockley.
Thurman “Ben” Strode was born March 2, 1938 in Cookeville. He grew up in McMinnville and was proud of his roots. Throughout many military moves, he always made time to go “home.” On Oct. 25, 1963, he married the love of his life, Rosalyn Simmons, resulting in a bond of love that spanned 55 years.
Wherever he lived, Thurman was known for his love of God, his love of family, and his love of and service to his country. He served in the United States Army from 1960-1980, which included three deployments to Vietnam. He achieved the rank of MSG before retiring in 1980. His love of country inspired several of his nephews to serve this country, and of that he was very proud.
After retiring from the Army, he worked at Weyerhaeuser in Washington state before moving to Bakersfield in 1988. Retirement for him did not mean to stop working, so he returned to work. When he retired from Golden Empire Nuts and Bolts, he began to finally embrace a slower lifestyle and devoted his time to his other loves: fishing and gardening. Everyone who knew him was a recipient of the bounty of his garden and his fishing.
Thurman was a man of great conviction and wisdom and shared his faith unapologetically. He leaves behind three children, Treva Martin (Jeffery), Jennifer Johnson (Aaron), and Krissy Warren (Otis); stepchildren Cynthia Craven and John Moore; grandchildren Nicole Mather, Nicolas Kennedy, Sydney Wilson, Olivia Warren, Autumn Warren, and Caleb Warren; and numerous great grandchildren. Surviving siblings include, Loretta Evans, Jeannette Arnold (Horace), and Christene Grayson, along with many loving nieces, nephews, and friends.
A celebration of life service was officiated by pastor Eddie Vance on Monday, June 3, at High’s Chapel. Burial followed Tuesday, June 4, at Chattanooga National Cemetery with full military honors. Online condolences may be made at www.highfuneralhome.com.
High Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
(McMinnville, Tenn.) June 5, 2019