Kenneth Irvin Strickland, 64, passed from this life surrounded by the family he adored on May 8th, 2022.
Selfless in the truest sense of the term, Ken, as he was known, was a beloved husband, father and grandfather whose absence has profoundly impacted the family he built, provided for and protected over many years.
Ken was born on the 27th of November, 1957 in Hearne, Texas and spent most of his early life in Seagoville, Texas. Not satisfied with a life limited by the pitfalls and challenges that surrounded him, Ken was resolved to better himself and create a life that would ensure that the family he would someday build would never know such hardships.
While the U.S. Marine Corps turns young men into leaders, Ken arrived at the Recruit Depot at Camp Pendleton in 1976 with the experience of a young man who had already provided for his mother and siblings. This leadership experience set Ken apart, and he excelled as a Marine, not only during boot camp, but throughout his service, including leading other Marines as a Sargent.
It was during his service to the Corps that Ken met California native Lori Vondeylen - the woman who would become his life partner and best friend for the remainder of his days. Ken and Lori's commitment to one another started as a promise before a wedding alter and never wavered, even in Ken's final moments for which Lori was by his side, where she had always been.
Following his honorable discharge, Ken brought Lori back to Texas to begin a family together, seeing their first son Kenneth Louis born in 1980. Son Christopher Ryan followed in 1984, and daughter Amanda Nicole in 1990. During this time Ken worked as a transport driver for Frito-Lay, where he would spend the remainder of his career. Despite the long hours and perennial fatigue Ken faced as a long-haul trucker, he excelled at being "present while present". Whether coaching little league, attending Boy Scout campouts or cutting his rest short to attend to a school project, Ken simply refused to allow time to get in the way of providing his children with the steady, supportive, and loving father figure they deserved.
Ken's final years were spent enjoying the fruits of this labor. Each of his children completed college and pursued careers in fields that fulfill their interests and passions. Each married partners that Ken welcomed with the same love and kindness that he showed his own children. Ken and Lori became the grandparents to two grandsons and two granddaughters, children who were also blessed by Ken's unrelenting love and support. In Ken's final months, each of his children, their spouses and his grandchildren were fortunate to have the opportunity to spend quality time with the man who reveled in their presence.
While a lesser man might judge the quality of his life in years, Ken's legacy can be found in what he created in the years he was here - a family that will grow and thrive in perpetuity due to the selfless leadership of a man whose happiness on this Earth was utterly and entirely bonded to the wellbeing of those he loved. It is these same loved ones who survive him, and who will carry Ken's ethos like a flame in his absence. These include wife Lori Strickland, son Kenneth and daughter-in-law Krista Strickland, son Christopher and daughter-in-law Marie Strickland, daughter Amanda and husband Ryan Gooch, grandsons Keegan and Korbin Strickland, and granddaughters Emmalyn and Chloe Strickland. Ken is also survived by sisters Diane Marshall, Penny Strickland Koller and Frances Penoyer, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Ken was preceded in death by his mother, Dorothy Penoyer, father Melvin Penoyer and brother Doyle Strickland.
A memorial in honor of Ken's life will be held at 10:00am on Saturday, May 14th at the New Hope Funeral Home in Sunnyvale, Texas, with burial immediately following at the adjacent Long Creek Cemetery.
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