Mary Louise (Halladay) Strickland, 90, passed peacefully on Thursday, May 9, 2019 in Bellingham, WA. Born December 31, 1928 in Monmouth, Illinois to Delfred Dean and Isabelle (Howell) Halladay, she moved with her family at age 5 yrs. to Tulsa, OK, where her father, an osteopathic physician, opened a practice. She met M.H. “Buck” Strickland, Jr. while attending the University of Tulsa. They married November 3, 1950 and celebrated 60 years of marriage in 2010, 2 months before Buck passed.
In her early years, Mary majored in Radio and Theater Arts, working for the campus radio station. This was a job she thoroughly enjoyed both during and after earning her degree. She was a Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority member, making many lifelong friends. Marriage and family came soon after. Mary and Buck started their family with two daughters in Tulsa, OK. In 1956, a job offer had the family on the move to Bellingham, WA, where eventually a third daughter completed the family.
Mary's church and faith were of utmost importance to her. With the bags barely unpacked, the family had already joined First Baptist Church in Bellingham. Mary participated in choir, circle meetings, and held leadership positions for numerous committees throughout the years. She was a devoted student of the Bible, always learning. Mary led by example, never loud and demanding, but always ready with an invitation or explanation.
Ambitious, Mary was a Girl Scout leader, PTA member, loved reading, sewing, knitting, crossword and jigsaw puzzles, card games, and visiting with friends. She had a love of nature, and was an avid bird watcher. Spontaneous picnics with family and friends were a time of joy for her. She was a great cook, with many of her favorite recipes still being used by the family. Mary enjoyed working 8 years at the Bellingham Public Library. She became a ham radio operator so she and Buck could stay in touch. She and Buck appreciated music and belonged to the Bellingham Dixieland Jazz Society. They spent many a fun evening at the Bellingham Yacht Club listening and dancing to jazz music, and attended several Dixieland Jazz Festivals in Seaside, OR.
In 2014 Mary moved from her family home of 55 years to The Willows. She missed her home in some ways, but worked hard to have a positive attitude about moving. Her strong faith helped her put things into perspective. The transition was made easier as she made friends with the staff and neighbors, and took advantage of the many outings and activities offered on-site.
Mary is survived by the family she dearly loved: daughters Linda (Karl) Peterson, Patty Kline (Patrick Reynolds, spouse), and Carol (Dale) Kloes; granddaughters Susan (Travis) Tripp, Laurie (Sean) Moran, and Jayna (Dave) Barber; great-grandchildren Tavien and Avrielle Tripp, Bergen and Keller Moran, and Baby Boy Barber on the way.
A private family graveside service will be held at Greenwood Cemetery. A public memorial service to remember and celebrate Mary’s life will be held on Saturday, June 1, 2019, at 1:00pm at First Baptist Church, 110 Flora St., Bellingham, WA 98225, with reception to follow. Donations in memory of Mary may be made to First Baptist Church, with “Memorial Fund - Mary Strickland” on memo line.