Obituary Listings

Robert Louis Strickland

March 3, 1931 September 21, 2018
Robert Louis Strickland
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Obituary for Robert Louis Strickland

Beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Robert Louis Strickland passed away on September 21, 2018 at his home in Winston-Salem, NC.

Bob was born on March 3, 1931 in Florence, SC to Hazel E. and Franz M. Strickland. He grew up in Asheboro, NC and was a graduate of Asheboro High School. As a young boy in Asheboro, he met the love of his life, “Betty Ann” Miller at a Boy Scout Dance, where he declared to a fellow Eagle Scout buddy, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry.” Indeed, Betty and Bob were married during his college years at UNC-Chapel Hill. Following his 1952 Phi Beta Kappa graduation from UNC, Bob left to fulfill his ROTC Scholarship commitments by serving in the US Navy from 1952-1955. He served as Lieutenant aboard the USS Haynesworth in the Korean conflict. Upon his return, he and Betty moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts where he attended Harvard Business School, graduating with distinction in 1957. He was hired by a then-small company in his beloved home state of NC: Lowe’s Companies, Inc. in 1957 in North Wilkesboro. What began as a two-year commitment as Lowe’s Director of Advertising turned into a 40-year career – with Bob retiring as Chairman of the Board of Lowe’s in 1997. He was named Chairman Emeritus in 1999.

Bob’s professional accomplishments, awards, and achievements are vast, varied, and too numerous to list. Some that were highlights for him include his election to serve from 1962-1964 in the NC House of Representatives, a job that was especially meaningful to him since his own grandfather had served years before in the SC House. He was passionately interested in expanding accessibility to higher education, and was proud to support the 1962 session’s founding of NC’s Community College System – along with the nation’s first state-supported arts college, the (University of) NC School of the Arts. He was on NCSA’s Foundation Board from 1975-1979; was on the Board of Trustees at Wilkes Community College from 1964-1973. Later in his career, he served on UNC-CH’s Board of Trustees from 1987-1995, serving as Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1991-1993.

His many corporate board directorships in addition to Lowe’s include: T. Rowe Price Associates in Baltimore MD; Hannaford Brothers in Portland ME; Krispy Kreme Corp. in Winston-Salem NC; Wholesale Club in Indianapolis IN; Summit Communications in Atlanta GA; and Revelstoke Co. in Calgary Canada. He also served on the Board of the US Federal Reserve in Richmond VA from 1994 to 1998, serving as Vice Chair from 1996-1998.

Keenly interested in the careers, livelihoods, and personal well-being of Lowe’s employees as the company grew, he was instrumental in the authorship and implementation of Lowe’s profit-sharing/Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). He was an engaging and sought-after speaker, lecturer, and panelist on ESOPs and investor relations from 1972-2000, testifying before the United States Senate Finance Committee, and speaking around the world to corporate associations and securities analysts at conferences in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris, Zurich, Frankfurt, Milan, Vienna, Singapore, and Tokyo.

A man of many talents – a gentleman and a scholar – Bob also greatly enjoyed and appreciated the arts. An accomplished guitarist, his family-gathering serenades and sing-alongs were legendary. He derived great joy from attending performances at the NC School of the Arts, Triad Stage, and Theatre Alliance. He loved to laugh, loved stand-up comedy, and adored a good joke. And some might be surprised to learn he was voted “Best Dancer” in the senior class of Asheboro High School! Later in life, he derived tremendous personal satisfaction from philanthropic endeavors with his wife, Betty. The charitable work of “The Strickland Family Foundation” provided great joy to him, as helping others was a guiding, life-principle for him. He spent the last six years of his life as a resident of Arbor Acres, where he and his wife Betty endowed “Strickland Place” skilled nursing facility. Most recently in May 2018, they endowed the “Robert L. Strickland Center” at Forsyth Technical Institute to offer enhanced career guidance, education, and counseling to Forsyth Tech students.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years Elizabeth Miller Strickland, whom he adored beyond all measure; his children, daughter Cynthia “Cinny” Strickland Graham (William) of Winston-Salem; and son Robert Edson Miller Strickland (Teri) and his granddaughter Sierra Elizabeth Strickland of Oak View, CA. He is also survived by his sister Frances Strickland Redding; cousins; and many nieces and nephews, including the especially treasured Teresa and John Ponton. He also deeply appreciated his longtime friends, W. Cliff Oxford, Khai Le, and Patricia Sokoloff.

The family wishes to thank special friends and caregivers who have surrounded us with love, caring, and compassion: Evette Gwyn, Mary Stanley, Terry Ponton, Patricia Sokoloff, Paul White, Pat and Jerry Kight, Cindy Southern, Jim Lyall, Jeffrey Herman, and Craig DeLucia. We are also deeply grateful to the caring staff at Arbor Acres; along with the skill and loving kindness of physicians William Applegate and Ed Shaw.

A Service of Remembrance will be held Tuesday, September 25 at 4:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in North Wilkesboro, NC with the Reverend Alan Laymon presiding. The family will receive guests at a reception immediately following the ceremony in the church’s Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, Bob’s family requests that memorials be made to Arbor Acres, Attn: Residents’ Assistance Fund, 1244 Arbor Road, Winston-Salem NC 27104; or to Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Attn: Outreach Ministries, 200 West Cowles St., Wilkesboro NC 28697; or to a charity of your choice. Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Services in North Wilkesboro is assisting the family.

This beautiful soul blessed his family each morning with a chorus of “Good Morning to You.” We are heartbroken that now we must wish good night and eternal “sweet dreams” to our precious husband and father. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

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Previous Events





4:00 PM 9/25/2018 4:00:00 PM
St. Paul's Episcopal Church

200 W Cowles Street
Wilkesboro, NC 28697

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
200 W Cowles Street Wilkesboro 28697 NC
United States

Cemetery Details


St. Paul's Episcopal Church Cemetery Final Resting Place

Cowles Road
Wilkesboro, NC

Cowles Road Wilkesboro NC
United States

Memorial Contribution

Donor's Choice

Residents Assistance Fund

1244 Arbor Road
Winston Salem, NC 27104

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

200 W Cowles Street
Wilkesboro, NC 28697

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