Blake McK StricklandAugust 24, 1982
Blake McK Strickland, 35, of Gulf Breeze, Florida, passed away February 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Blake was born August 24, 1982 in Pensacola, Florida to parents Dr. Claude D. Strickland and Robyn Alexander Strickland. His older brother, Travis, was his lifelong best friend and they were inseparable not only as children, but throughout their adult lives as well. He thoroughly enjoyed spending time at the beach, fishing with his dad, brother, uncles, and cousins, laughs with his mom, and the home cooked meals and special desserts she made.
The most important thing to Blake was his family, especially as his family grew into what it is now. His nephew, Grant and niece, Abigail, were his entire world. He loved going crabbing with Grant, listening to Bob Marley songs with Abigail, and having water balloon fights with them both. It was his mission to always bring them gifts that kept him in “favorite” standing. They truly brought joy to his life and his face would always light up when he talked about them. If you wanted to put a smile on his face, all you had to do was mention them.
Blake was one of the few in this great country that felt the need to defend the freedom of our country and served in both the Army and Army Reserves. He deployed as an Infantryman two times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and during his first deployment he spent a total of 16 long months overseas. During his service he was awarded or earned the following: the Iraqi Campaign Medal with two stars, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Overseas Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and the Basic Parachutist Badge. The military, like family, was extremely important to him. During his time in service he gained many brothers that he considered family.
It was easy for Blake to make new friends because his personality was infectious. He loved having a good time and was the life of the party. His spirit was kind, outgoing and giving, which explains why he also had a special love for rescue animals. He once rescued a three-legged dog he named Foster, and he would joke and tell people Foster lost his leg in a coyote fight. His current rescue, Butters, had previously been severely abused and uncared for and had his life completely changed because of Blake.
Though we all mourn the loss of a great man, son, brother, uncle, and friend, he has left a legacy that cannot be matched.
Blake was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Razzie and Georgia Strickland and maternal grandfather Wilson Mck Alexander, Sr. He is survived by his parents, Dr. Claude D. Strickland and Robyn Alexander Strickland; maternal grandmother, Jeanie Alexander; brother, Travis Strickland and wife, Tanya; nephew, Grant Strickland; niece, Abigail Strickland; his dog, Butters; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and Army brothers.
by Claude Strickland
Grief and broken trust
When all hope is but dust
He’s wild in his sorrow
And Divines tomorrow
Seeking solace and forgiveness
The lonely heart of Love’s business
His CIB and Airborne pins are tarnished upon the hat bill that shielded his eyes but his memory shines brightly forever more.
Blake McK Went Away
by Claude Strickland
Whiskey River coldly served
From the glass once reserved
For the presence now departed
Grieving has only started
Measure and pour as daily bread
Quenching the thirst the lonely dread
Stab it, kill it with a gun or knife
All bad memories of his life
He filled our glass and our heart
He lit up the room when it was dark
Recall the shining of the day
Before Blake McK went away
He wore this hat with pride
He wore this hat when he cried
At the passing of good men and soldiers
Who signed up for duties bolder
Than those who stayed home
He now no longer suffers alone
Josie Wales says dying is easy
For warriors dead, will at peace be
It is living that is difficult for those who remain
To deal with this life of sorrow and pain
Gather up your psalms and prayers
Say them gently, because Blake, we care