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Online tributes, expressions of sympathy pour in for Herman Strickland Jr., 60

“…One of my church members and friend, Herman Strickland Jr., died yesterday, and it shook me to my core. He was a great Christian brother who loved his wife and two daughters…a kind and loving man. He will never be forgotten but truly missed.” – Dwayne A. Jones, friend


Herman Strickland Jr. (Courtesy photo)

The First Baptist Church on Kitchen Street posted on its Facebook wall:

“It is with deep sadness to inform you that Bro. and Sis. Strickland’s son, Herman Strickland Jr., passed away this morning. Please pray for the family during this difficult time for strength, comfort, and understanding.”

Strickland, a long-time Memphis banker known for his civic and professional efforts to boost African-American communities and Memphis, died April 5. He was 60.

This past Sunday, Strickland, a longtime deacon, was scheduled to lead the prayer during online services at New Olivet Worship Center in Cordova.

In stunning and dramatic fashion, he was heard praying at the appointed time.

Members of the congregation and visiting friends watching the online service posthumously heard Strickland’s voice, praying for the last time.

He had sent the 10-minute pre-recorded prayer to his pastor, Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr., earlier in the week.

“…Help us to endure, Lord. Please help us to stay as safe as we possibly can, Lord. Help us to get through this…”

The words from Strickland’s recording were striking in the solemn moment of corporate prayer.

Strickland was a senior vice president and credit officer for Pinnacle Financial Partners in Memphis. His stellar career unfolded at First Tennessee Bank (now First Horizon), where he worked for 34 years.

When he left First Horizon, he was head of the diversity banking group. He joined Pinnacle in 2015.

With all Strickland’s accolades and board memberships, Whalum said the banker was most impressive in his love for God.

“I knew him for 30 years, and he was a true worshipper,” said Whalum. “Every Sunday morning before service began, you would find Herman lying prostrate on the altar, unashamed of his relationship with God. It was an unapologetic show of humility and meekness in a man of his stature. What an example for our young people.”

Strickland and his wife, Rhonda Strickland, ran New Olivet’s married couples’ ministry for 10 years. He was also involved in the Rights of Passage Ministry, a program for the guidance and mentoring of young men.

Strickland earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Arkansas State University management and a master’s degree in finance from the University of Memphis. He also graduated from the Darden School of Commercial Lending, University of Virginia.

Strickland was a former instructor at the Barret School of Banking at Christian Brothers University. He served on numerous boards throughout his career, among them the Memphis Urban League, Leadership Memphis, Community Lift and the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, University of Memphis.

R.S. Lewis and Sons Funeral Home has charge of services.

The visitation, which is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. today (April 10) at R. S. Lewis at 2944 Walnut Grove Rd., is open to the public. The funeral service set for Saturday (April 11), also at the Walnut Grove location, is restricted to family members only.

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