William “Bill” Raiford Strickland, Jr. 83 of Pinehurst, died at his home on January 20, 2018 after a life well-lived.

Born on March 19, 1934 in St. Petersburg, Florida to the late William and Rachel Strickland, Bill was a graduate of St. Petersburg High School where he was a star athlete in football and basketball. He attended the University of Georgia on a football athletic scholarship and finished his college football career at Maryville College. He played a brief stint with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams.

Bill felt a greater call than football and decided to serve as a teacher of mathematics, science, and religion at The Community International School in Tehran, Iran where he also served as a field operative in clandestine services for the US Central Intelligence Agency. He was recognized for meritorious service in 1964. It was there that he met his first wife and mother of his three children. Upon returning to the US he obtained a Bachelor’s in Divinity at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and then served a second tour of duty in Tehran. Bill continued his education by obtaining a Master’s Degree from Duke University and a Doctorate in education at UNC-Chapel Hill.

After his studies, he served as associate and campus minister at University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill. He also served as principal at Chapel Hill Senior High School for seven years and as associate vice chancellor at UNC-Chapel Hill. He later became the vice president of student development at Maryville College.

Bill left the education field and became co-owner of a real estate firm in Chapel Hill. In the early 1990s, he served as a management consultant to the nuclear power division of CP&L Company where he met his wife, Gail. He later served as director of student development services for the NC Community College System where he retired in 1999.

In retirement, Bill worked with his wife as a consultant at Kiker, Strickland & Associates and then worked as a Teacher Development Coordinator for East Coast Migrant Head Start Project where he finished his working career in 2004. He also enjoyed volunteering for the Guardian ad Litem programs in Wake and Moore Counties.

Bill was an avid sports fan, especially for his beloved UNC Tar Heels. He loved reading, music, and theater. In recent years was a frequent visitor to the Givens Memorial Library. He enjoyed spending time with his wife and family at their home at Holden Beach. Bill and Gail moved to Pinehurst in 2011 to be closer to their grandchildren.

Bill was predeceased by his parents, William Raiford Strickland and Rachel Knight Humphrey and his stepfather, Willis (Bo) Humphrey.

He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Gail Bartholomew Kiker; three children, Colleen Gustafson (Gus) of Raleigh, Jennifer Mangum of Durham, and Christopher Strickland of Albany, NY; stepsons, Jason Kiker (Holly) of Wadesboro and Adam Kiker of Pinehurst; also survived by two grandchildren, Ansley and Harrison Kiker of Wadesboro.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 2:00 PM at Community Presbyterian Church, 125 Everett Road, Pinehurst. The family will receive friends following the service.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Givens Memorial Library; PO Box 159; Pinehurst, NC 28370 or to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of William Raiford Strickland, Jr., please visit Boles’ Tribute Store.

Online condolences: BolesFuneralHome.com.

Mr. Strickland’s family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers at Sandhills Sentinel.

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