‘Passionate and Loving and Caring’ Craig Strickland Remembered at Memorial Service
Loved ones and fans gathered on Tuesday night (Jan. 12) to remember Craig Strickland at a memorial service at the Cross Church Pinnacle Hills Campus in Rogers, Ark. The event was also streamed through the church's website.
"We had such a special relationship, such a bond," Strickland's father, Randy Strickland, said during the service (quote via People). "My son allowed me to share in his life, and I really think that's what he did for all of y'all: He invited you in.
"He was passionate and loving and caring," Randy Strickland added.
Helen Strickland, the late Backroad Anthem singer's wife, noted in a pre-taped message, "I know that I am just getting started on my path of grief," and shared her memories of the first time she met Craig Strickland.
On Instagram, Helen Strickland has been sharing memories of her late husband. Craig Strickland was buried earlier on Tuesday, and before his funeral, his widow posted a photo of a note from her that was buried with him in his jacket pocket. In part, it reads, "You were my passion and are the love of my earthly life."
After Tuesday night's memorial service, Helen Strickland shared her thanks to those who attended, both in person and via the webstream.
"I wish I could thank and hug each of you individually. But for now, all I can do is say thank you and I love you. Because of your love and prayers, I know I can get through this," she writes, adding specific thanks to the church and funeral home staff and those who sent donations and flowers, as well as to the friends of her husband who put the event together and performed, including former The Voice contestant Barrett Baber. "I love you, Craig Michael. I'm thankful you're with our Heavenly Father and everything is complete. I will do everything I can to carry on your legacy of establishing relationships and loving people."
Twenty-nine-year-old Craig Strickland died after he, his 22-year-old friend Chase Morland and Strickland’s dog Sam went for a duck hunt early on Dec. 27, despite severe weather conditions. When Strickland and Morland failed to make contact with their families for 24 hours, a search began for the two missing men. Teams — including members in the air, on land and in sonar-equipped boats — searched a two-mile area of Kaw Lake in Kay County, Okla., before recovering Strickland's body on Jan. 4. Morland’s body was recovered on the afternoon of Dec. 28, with Sam found, alive, next to his body. On Dec. 31, search crews discovered footprints, boat marks and dog prints that helped them narrow their search area and find Strickland.
Backroad Anthem began their career in October of 2012. Without Strickland, the band consists of Toby Freeman on vocals and electric guitar, fiddler Eric Dysart, guitarist Josh Bryant, bassist and vocalist Brandon Robold and drummer Isaac Senty. The group has opened for country artists including Chris Young, Gary Allan and Tyler Farr and has said that they intend to continue their career without Strickland.
Country Artists Who Have Suffered Terrible Tragedies