Jean Ann Strickler, 77, loyal daughter, devoted wife, loving mother, dedicated teacher, doting grandmother, and adoring great-grandmother, went to heaven on Sunday, July 28, 2019.
Jean was born September 16, 1941 in Plymouth, Michigan to Dawson “Dan” Gilmore and Annette “Detta” Kissire. Jean fondly remembered helping her father build their house when she was little, riding her bicycle, spending time with her uncles, and living with her grandmother. Later in life, despite the challenges, she spent many years helping to care for her father and mother.
In 1957, at 16 years old, Jean, a talented pianist, was asked to play piano with a singing group. An unassuming barbershop quartet practice changed lives forever when the man she was destined to marry, Herbert Allan Strickler, showed up late after working his 12-hour landscaping shift. Over the course of a year, the group practiced at her house or performed at venues every night, including many performances on Detroit TV and radio. In 1958, 17 and too young to get a marriage certificate, Jean used a typewriter to change her birth certificate so she and Herb could elope before he left for military service. Their wedding was October 28, 1958 and she went on to share a beautiful love with her husband, soul-mate, and lifelong best friend. In nearly 61 years, their time apart totaled less than six months and they were holding hands and laughing with each other until her last days on earth.
Being a mother was Jean’s proudest accomplishment. Her first son, Daniel Strickler, was born January 9, 1961 in Munich, Germany, her second son, Zachary Strickler, was born August 20, 1977 in Pontiac, Michigan, and she has been a grandmother since 1985. Any willing listener would hear stories bragging about her sons and their children. Jean would give all she could to bring happiness to her sons, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She constantly looked for opportunities to provide for her family’s needs and liked nothing more than to improve their lives when possible. A talented seamstress, she sewed everything from patches, to full suits, dresses, and costumes even after it was painful for her. She loved traveling with her family, doing garden and yard work, and creating arts and crafts with her children and grandchildren. She loved the pets they had over the years. In her later years, she enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and listening to audio books.
She earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1966 and her Master’s degree in 1967 through an accelerated scholarship program with Eastern Michigan University. She taught for 30 years, choosing to focus her career on helping severely cognitively and physically handicapped children, ranging from pre-school to adult ages. Her legacy as a teacher lives on through the many children she coached to independence.
Jean touched so many lives in her time here. Her memory will live on through her family, her students, and especially through her love of passing on the stories about her life and the lives of her ancestors. She will be forever loved and forever missed.
She is survived by her husband, Herbert Strickler; son, Daniel and his wife, Peggy; son, Zachary and his wife, April; grandson, Jacob and his wife, Amanda; granddaughter, Jenna; grandson, Beckett; granddaughter, Jordyn; granddaughter Taylor; two great-grandchildren Dawson and Oscar; her mother, Annette; loving pet, Remington; and sister, Judy. She was preceded in death by her father, Dawson Gilmore.
Her memorial and visitation will be held noon-8pm on Sunday, August 4 and 10 a.m. – noon on Monday, August 5 at Manns Family Funeral Home in Livonia. Services will take place after the visitation on Monday and she will be laid to rest at Parkview Memorial Cemetery following the ceremony.
Donations can be made in her honor to Adopt-a-pet Fenton at www.adoptapetfenton.com