Alton “Buck” Merrill Strickland, Jr. passed away on Friday, May 8, 2020 surrounded by his family in Waynesville, North Carolina. He was 78.
A native of Miami, Florida, he was the son of the late Alton Merrill Strickland, Sr. and Iris Mae Strickland. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his dear daughter, Sandra Estes, who died in 1995.
Buck is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Goldie McDaniels Strickland; his three daughters, Donna Utanski of Washington, Robin Palmer of Clyde and her husband Chris, and Jodi Strickland of Clyde; and a sister, Cheryl Corley and her husband Jim, of Lakeland, Florida.
Also left to treasure and carry on their Papaw’s memory and heartwarming smile, are his grandchildren: Krista Weaver and her husband Doug; Christopher Mills; Leah Estes; Jesse Mills; Jordan Utanski; Richard Malloy and his wife Maia; Taylor Malloy; Lauren Utanski; Joseph Mills and his wife Chelsea; and Casey Palmer. Along with his great-grandchildren Khloe, Kahlan, Sophia, Mason, Zeke, and Waylon.
Buck was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather who dedicated his life to helping others. A graduate of Florida Atlantic University, Buck worked for Florida Power and Light for 21 years. He retired in 1991 to Haywood County.
Buck and his wife Goldie were active in their community where they established Fletcher Park in Pembroke Pines, Florida. There, he coached his four daughters on the softball field, winning state and national championships. As a result of his accomplishments and contributions, Buck was inducted into the Softball Coaching Hall of Fame.
Buck was an avid fisherman. During his later years, he enjoyed spending time by the water in St. George Island, Florida with his family. He was also a dedicated, enthusiastic Florida State Seminoles fan.
He will always be the voice of reason, the guiding light, and an inspiration to his family. Buck will be deeply missed by his friends, family, and all who knew him.
A memorial service in commemoration of his life and achievements will be held on a later date.
The care of Mr. Strickland has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at www.wellsfuneralhome.com
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