Mr. Jerry Strickland, a philanthropic visionary and entrepreneurial success who trusted his instincts and used those talents to create several thriving businesses which employed and enriched the lives of many, passed away Wednesday, February 1, 2017 in Houston.
"If you throw a rock into a stream, the rock will sink to the bottom, but the ripples will keep flowing,'' Jerry always said. ``It only takes one person to start a chain reaction."
The son of Gladys and Joe Strickland born on the March 20 1936, in Monette, Jerry brought waves of change to those he knew and the thousands more he helped.
It was Strickland's thirst for knowledge and willingness to wonder that pushed him to become the first in his family to graduate college. Upon graduating from the University of Arkansas in 1958 with an engineering degree, Strickland was ready to take on the world.
From Texas to California, Jerry worked the oil field service industry.
There was little glamour in the long days and back roads selling services from patch to patch. But it was there Strickland began to understand and dream about marketing, selling, and building.
Strickland climbed the Black, Sivalls and Bryson corporate ladder from the oil fields. Then on to marketing manager for Polaroid. Then director of market development for Titanium Metals Corporation to vice president of marketing for Wyatt Industry.
It was when Strickland decided to risk his year-end bonus at Wyatt to form his own business that he fully embraced his entrepreneurial spirit. That bonus, coupled with determination and a belief in the people he surrounded himself with, spawned a second act with an impact beyond measure.
Strickland, with Albert Wilson, formed WilsonStrickland, a petrochemical maintenance business. He later formed AltairStrickland. And finally RepconStrickland would build a lasting and sterling reputation in the oil and gas industry.
Under his leadership, AltairStrickland championed and supported the creation of an array of successful subsidiary companies.
While still involved in business, Strickland turned his attention to giving back to others less fortunate.
He generously offered his time, his acumen in business and marketing, as well as his direct donations to expand the reach of his favorite charitable organizations.
Jerry conceived Camp Hooray for Extra Special People (ESP) in Athens, Georgia. It is the nation's first camp designed specifically for children with developmental disabilities. Here he engaged the insight and inspiration of the students of the architecture department as well as the students of landscape architecture at Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, respectively
With the Phoenix Center in Marble Falls, Texas, he envisioned a camp for children who have suffered early family trauma. For this campus he engaged the creativity of the architecture students at Texas A&M.
Another of his causes was Camp Aranzazu, which helps children with significant medical issues to experience the outdoors and summer camp.
Closer to home, Jerry sponsored The Wheelhouse, a home for sober living in Deer Park, Texas.
He was also a major influence of and benefactor for Nora's Home, a hospitality home for pre and post-operative transplant patients.
His wife, Linda, has continued the couple's commitment to giving. She is a board member for Camp Aranzazu and Nora's Home.
Through gifts of the Linda and Jerry Strickland Family Foundation, Strickland championed causes close to his family such as LGBT issues, has helped with medical research, and has enhanced the lives of countless people he never met.
To extend his reach, Jerry wrote of his experiences in Turnarounds: A Life Inspiring Change. The book offers insight into the narratives that shaped Strickland's entrepreneurial and philanthropic drives.
At 80, Strickland was an active agent of change through his latest ventures Turnaround Properties, Turnaround Oil, Rothland Commercial Real Estate and Linda and Jerry Family Foundation's charitable involvement.
Even though he was an accomplished business man and philanthropist, his greatest joy was his family.
He was preceded in death by his oldest son and namesake, Jerry Rogers Strickland II.
He is survived by his wife, Linda Strickland; and his children, Patia Strickland of Houston, Whitney (Tisha) Strickland of Houston, Carter (Kim) Strickland of Austin, and his stepson, Steve (Charlynn) Rothbauer of Houston; son-in-law, Stephen Kubenka, of Austin; sister, Sarah Agent, of Jonesboro, Arkansas; 13 grandchildren: Taylor Maanao, Megan Maanao, Aubrey Strickland, Angus Strickland, Christopher Strickland, Owen Strickland, Pearce Strickland, Ashlee (David) Salva, Alexus Gray, Alyse Gray, Mason Rothbauer, Ella Rothbauer, Grace Rothbauer; two great grandchildren: Kendall and Parker Salva; and several nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, March 4, at a venue and time to be announced at a later date. For up to date information, please visit www.geohlewis.com.
In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed towards Nora's Gift Foundation, PO Box 8350, Houston, TX 77288; or to Extra Special People, 189 VFW Drive, Watkinsville, GA 30677; or to The Phoenix Center, PO Box 732, Marble Falls TX 78654; or to Camp Aranzazu, 5420 Loop 1781, Rockport, TX 78382; or to The Wheelhouse, PO Box 920, 210 W. Helgra, Deer Park, TX 77536.