Saturday, 30 December 2017

George Robert Strickland - Eulogy 19th December 1927 - 18th December 2017

George Robert Strickland or Bob as he was more familiarly known was born on the 19th December 1927 in Hull, East Yorkshire, England. He was the youngest of 7 children having 4 elder sisters and two brothers. Bob's father was badly injured during the first world war and was unable to work so their family had to live off of his war pension.
Less than a month after Bob's 12th birthday on a cold January morning Bob's elder brother Fred came downstairs to find his father dead. The 2nd World War had just broken out a few months before and both Fred and Norman had joined the navy.
Bob's elder sisters were either married or living away from home so it was up to 12 year old Bob to help look after his mother who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. A year later on the 8th April 1941 Bob's mother also passed away, Bob was 13 years old and an orphan.
After his mother's funeral he was taken up to South Shields to live with his father's sister Annie. He wasn't happy there so after a year he decided to return back to Hull.
Hull was an important port, and because of this it was regularly bombed so when he arrived back at his old home everything was dark because of the blackout. Bob found his way to his married sister's Lilly's home and was able to live with her for awhile.
During this time Bob did all sorts of jobs, he learnt to drive whilst delivering laundry in an old ambulance and he even worked at Hull Fair on the dodgem cars.
Bob was 17 at the end of the 2nd World War but still had to go into military service, after military training in England he and his fellow comrades were shipped off to Egypt, during his time in Egypt Bob learnt a little bit of Arabic, even if it was only swear words.
After returning home from Egypt Bob decided to attend a school to learn typing and shorthand. It was here that he met his sweetheart and wife of more than 67 years, Doreen.
Bob and Doreen were married on the 25th March 1950 at St. Peters Church Anlaby.
A year and a half later their first child was born, John Robert Strickland, then two years later they were blessed with a baby girl Denise Violet Strickland.
For a while it seemed as if their family was complete, then in 1960 two LDS missionaries knocked at their door and were able to answer questions that no one else had been able to answer. Bob and Doreen and their two children were baptised and became members of the West Hull branch. A year later in 1961 they were once again blessed with a daughter, Debra Anne Strickland.
Shortly after Debra's birth Bob's work necessitated that he would have to move away from Hull, first to Little Neston in the Cheshire Peninsular and then to Sutton Coalfield near Birmingham. Bob began work with Del Monte (canned peaches etc) who had just begun to open up their offices in Great Britain. After another move to Sunbury on Thames Bob was eventually promoted to regional manager of the company in Scotland and Northern Ireland and the family moved up to East Kilbride in Scotland.
During all of these moves Bob and Doreen lost touch with the church and became inactive, during a business trip to the States Bob was able to visit Salt Lake City and writing home to Doreen he said - "There is something about this city that makes you feel different. We must attend church when I get back and start living a better life, one that makes your family better." Close quote.
Even though he said this it wasn't until they were living in Scotland and two Jehovah Witnesses knocked on their door, that the ball was set in motion, Doreen told them that they didn't go to church but that they were LDS, and these two Jehovah witnesses then rang the doorbell of a neighbour a few houses further along and she also told them that she was LDS, they told her that they had spoken to a neighbour who was LDS. This good sister quickly came around to our house and invited our family to a fireside and from that moment on we became reactive in the church.
On the 8th November 1969 our family travelled down to the London Temple and we were sealed together for time and all eternity.
After several business trips to the States Bob had developed a great desire to emigrate to the United States. In 1971 the opportunity arose, Bob sold his house and gave up his job and he and Doreen, who was 7 months pregnant at the time, and their three children moved to California to follow the American dream. Three months after arriving their 4th child Kim Doreen Strickland was born in San Pedro. What a blessing was that latecomer to Bob and Doreen in their later years.
Things didn't turn out as planned in America and Bob returned to work for Del Monte and they eventually moved him to Toronto, Canada. Both John and Denise remained in California and Denise met and married her husband Mario Gomez.
After a year in Canada, Doreen returned to Great Britain with Debra and Kim and Bob returned about a year later. Eventually Bob and Doreen were able to emigrate back to the USA with Kim, first to California and then to Arizona.
During his life Bob served faithfully in the church in many callings, he was Branch President in Scotland and Bishop of the Bedford ward in England. He has touched many peoples lives for good and shared his British humour. Even in his last week he was able to bare his testimony to his family.
Bob loved to play golf and he was also a wonderful magician a member of the magic circle. In his younger years Doreen was his assistant though he always accused her of killing his white rabbit with kindness by over feeding it, those who know Doreen can understand how this happened. Bob could perform marvellous tricks with cards but he also loved practical jokes and as a child we quickly learned never to pick up a silver coin laying on the table or you might just get an electric shock.
Bob was also a wheeler and dealer and was always buying and selling cameras or watches etc. Even as a young boy of about 5 his mother caught him outside trying to trade his grandfather's silver watch for some marbles.
Bob had a full life, he almost reached his 90th birthday but died just a few hours before, I like to think that his parents and siblings wanted to celebrate this birthday with him. His body was worn out but his spirit lives on.
He will be missed greatly by us his family, he was a loving husband to his wife Doreen, after 67 years of marriage and the ups and downs that every marriage has they still held hands. It was very emotional last week to witness how tenderly Mum and Dad said goodbye to each other.
Dad was also a great father to us four children, I can remember as a child feeling safe and protected on his knee, I loved to give him big kisses which he would give names to such as a smasher, or a smacker.
Dad has also left a great legacy of grandchildren and great grandchildren -  John and Joan's children Richard, Tracy, Lorna and Rachel. Denise and Mario's children Mark, Nathalie and Matthew, Kristin and Susan. Debra and Leen Arie's children Esther, Arjen and Laura and Kim and David's children Breanna, Aaron and Kelsey.Dad was very proud of each of his grandchildren and what they have accomplished in their lives and they also have fond memories of a fun Grandad who taught them to play cards or allowed them to decorate his face with flowers.
From these 12 grandchildren have come up to now 20 great grandchildren, Dad's memory will live on in these children.
I am so thankful for the knowledge that we have that this life doesn't end with death, a few days ago my sister Kim rang me up crying, she was feeling very strongly the miss of her Dad. I told her that for me it was different because I have lived far away from my parents for 36 years and that each goodbye at separation from them during all those years was like a death, but they were still there, just far away. I said to Kim that Dad is still here, he is just far away in another place where the internet connection isn't so good or is maybe just one way.
Dad we love you and will miss you but we know that you are close by and will keep an eye on your family. Love you Dad!

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