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Thomas Strickland remembered as a kind man, pillar of the community
Thomas Strickland
Thomas Strickland (Submitted photo.)

By Barbara Augsdorfer, Editor for the Effingham Herald

Springfield – Thomas C. Strickland, Jr., (Tommy), 81, passed away at home on June 11 after an extended illness.

A long-time member of the Effingham County community, Strickland was respected and well-loved.

“I grew up with (his son) Trey, and I just remember when I lived in Springfield, and they would walk us around the casket room, show us stuff, scare us a little bit,” said Kevin Exley, mayor pro tem of Rincon.

“No one else would take the time to do that,” Exley added. “He was a great man. You can’t say enough, really.”

According to his obituary, Strickland grew up in Pooler, and moved to Springfield in 1971 when he purchased the Leslie Thompson Funeral Home, which later became Thomas C. Strickland & Sons Funeral Homes with locations in Effingham County and Pooler.

Strickland graduated from Georgia Southern in 1965 and from the John A. Gupton College of Mortuary Science in 1966. He served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972.  He was the first funeral director in the state of Georgia to be certified in Eye Enucleation.

An active member of Springfield Oaks Church and the Maturing Disciples Sunday School Class, he also regularly attended Sunday night services at Pine Street Baptist Church in Guyton.  He was recently recognized as a 50-year member of Springfield Masonic Lodge #440 F & AM.

“Tommy only loved Jesus more than his precious family; and knew that God had called him to funeral service.  He strived to meet every need of the families he served and took every opportunity to be a witness for Jesus,” his obituary continued.

“I will always remember Mr. Tommy as a kind man. Each time I saw him, he gave a warm ‘Hey, how are you?’,” recalled Amanda Arnsdorff Deen of Guyton. “During the saddest times of my life while dealing with the loss of loved ones, he had the ability to offer comfort, support, understanding, and sympathy.

“In time of need, he was very helpful in guiding those of us left here behind with the tough decisions. He was professional in his work, but personal when out of the office. He was smiling, joking, (and) kind.

“He was a pillar to his family as well as our community. He was present for all of his grandchildren’s church-, school-, and sporting events. He adored his wife, Mrs. Terri, his three children, their spouses, and his many grand- and great-grandchildren. He will be missed by so many, and it was an honor to have known him. Rest peaceful Mr. Tommy, good and faithful servant,” Deen said.

“Just a Christian and community-minded (man). He had a unique ability to connect with people because of what he did for a living,” said District 5 County Commissioner Phil Keiffer. “He had a special knack for helping people through the (grieving) process.

“It’s really hard to explain how important he was to the community,” Keiffer added, “I’ve known him my whole life. He’s definitely going to be missed in the community.”

Funeral services were held June 14 at Springfield Oaks Church.

Entombment followed at Effingham Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to either, George Brogdon Scholarship Fund, c/o Springfield Oaks Church, 210 Cleveland Street, Springfield, GA 31329; or Strickland Scholarship Fund, c/o Trinity Methodist Church of Pooler, 320 Benton Drive, Pooler, GA 31322.