Donald William Strickland, of Signal Mountain, Tennessee, died on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at age 74, another victim of Agent Orange.
Don grew up in Gainesville, Ga. After graduating from South Hall High School, Class of ‘65, he briefly attended the University of Georgia. Don was in a rock and roll band, and he preferred that experience to studying. His most memorable gigs were backing up The Drifters and The Tams.
Don joined the United States Marine Corps and completed recruit training at Parris Island, S.C. Within a year, he was accepted to Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Va., and shortly before his 21st birthday, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. Within three years, he would attain the rank of Captain. Don served in the Vietnam War from 1969-1970, and for his service he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal (with combat “V”), the Air Medal (with the number 5, denoting over 100 combat missions as a Naval Aerial Observer), and the Combat Action Ribbon. Don was proud of the fact that he was one of a relatively few Marines to have been awarded both the Air Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon in the Vietnam War.
After his release from active duty, Don obtained an undergraduate degree from Georgia State University and a law degree from the University of Tennessee. He practiced law in Chattanooga for 35 years. He practiced for six years with Southeast Tennessee Legal Services and for 29 years with Grant, Konvalinka, and Harrison.
During retirement, Don loved traveling with his wife and best friend, Sandy McCrea. They were fortunate to be able to travel extensively throughout the contiguous United States and to Alaska, Canada, Hawaii, South America, islands in the Caribbean (including Cuba), Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. They even traveled to Vietnam, where Don had vowed on more than one occasion never to return.
Don was for a time active in community theater, primarily with the Signal Mountain Playhouse, but also with the Chattanooga Theatre Center. He appeared in Harvey, Leading Ladies, Something’s Afoot, Don’t Dress For Dinner, We're No Angels, Annie, The Music Man (twice), Annie Get Your Gun, Oliver!, The Wizard of Oz, and others.
Don is survived by his wife, Sandy McCrea; his sons, Douglas Strickland (Lindsey Lewis) and William Strickland; brother, Dr. Daniel Strickland (Karen) of Warrensville, NC; sisters, Debbie Lyter of Oakwood, GA, and Dianne Smith (Jeff) of Buford, GA. He was predeceased by his mother, Doris Elise Wyant.
Don decided to forego military funeral honors and internment of his ashes at the National Cemetery. Rather than the traditional rifle salute and the playing of Taps, it was Don’s hope that his family and friends salute him with a beverage (or two) of their choice. Don regrets that he will be unable to return the salute.
A gathering of friends and family will be held to remember Don at a date to be determined.
No flowers, please. A contribution to Metropolitan Ministries is suggested as an alternative.
Arrangements are by the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory, and Florist, 5401 Highway 153, Hixson, Tn. 37343.
Please share your thoughts and memories at www.chattanooganorthchapel.com.