Mrs. Erwin Kelley Strickland, age 90, a longtime resident of the Ewell community outside Ozark, Alabama went home to be with our Lord on October 24, 2012. Her life was characterized by a resolute commitment to Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord and the impact upon the lives she touched with His gospel of grace was immeasurable.
Funeral services will be 2:30 P.M. Saturday, October 27, 2012, from Ozark Baptist Church with Reverend Dr. Steve King and Reverend Bill Hix officiating. Interment will follow in Westview Memorial Cemetery, Holman Funeral Home of Ozark directing. The family will receive friends in the Sanctuary of the Ozark Baptist Church Friday evening from 5:00 P.M. until 7:00 P. M.
One of ten children (four sisters and six brothers) born to William and Mittie Kelley, Erwin grew up in the Salem community of rural Skipperville, Alabama. She came to faith in Christ as a young child during the days when itinerant "circuit preachers" regularly made their way to her country church. Her life from that point forward was one of devoted service to Him and her family. Erwin was known by all as a beloved and devoted Sunday School teacher at Ozark Baptist Church (Ozark, Alabama) as she faithfully served in that position, teaching all ages (mainly adult) from 1947 to 2001. She is fondly remembered for the details and depth she brought to every Sunday School lesson she taught and for the love she showed toward people. Those who received her handwritten cards of care and concern found encouragement, love and hope in her words mailed to them through the years. Erwin's ministry - her passion, really - was steeped in the belief that all should come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, and that victory over life's trials and difficulties is found in Him alone.
Most of Erwin's working life was spent in Dale County in various secretarial positions, most notably as a secretary at the Dale County Schools Superintendent's office, the Dale County Probate Court office and the Dale Baptist Associational office (Ozark, Alabama). She worked briefly at Bibb Mills (Columbus, Georgia) following her high school graduation and then returned to Ozark for the duration of her working years.
In her other pursuits, Erwin took great pleasure spending time in her flower garden. In her later years she also occupied herself with the genealogical research of her family tree - a hobby in which she took great satisfaction.
Erwin was preceded in death by her beloved husband of twenty years, Braxton Comer Strickland; her parents, William F. and Mittie Hagler Kelley; two sisters, Emily Ward and Edith Martin; and two brothers, Dwight Kelley and Ray Kelley. She is survived by her two children, Kelley Strickland of Ozark, Alabama and Kay Kozlowski (Mike) of Enterprise, Alabama; four grandchildren, Daniel Strickland, Katie Strickland Eubanks, Mark and Nathan Kozlowski; one sister, Eva Kelley Robinson, Ozark, Alabama; four brothers and five sisters in-law, Roy and Mary Kelley, Phenix City, Alabama; Randolph and Frances Kelley, Ozark, Alabama; Raymond and Patsy Kelley, Ozark, Alabama; Reynolds and CJ Kelley, Thomasville, Georgia; and Martha Kelley, Ozark, Alabama; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family wishes to extend heartfelt thanks to Erwin's caregivers (Ann McLeod, Brenda Richards, Joyce Bromery, Brenda Brown, Betty McLeod, Delores Cohen, Matha Joyner, and Lillie Sanders). Their diligent and devoted service during the last few years will never be forgotten and will always be appreciated.