Helen Joyce Savell Strickland Helen Joyce Savell Strickland of Apollo Beach, FL went to her heavenly home on September 26, 2016 at the age of 86 years after a courageous battle with multiple myeloma. She was born February 23, 1930 in Start, LA. Joyce was a remarkable woman who began her life as a sharecropper's daughter helping daily with farm chores while attending school and studying by the light of a kerosene lamp. She was the alternate valedictorian of her graduating class at Ouachita High School in Monroe, LA. Joyce was awarded a full scholastic scholarship to LSU but was unable to accept the opportunity due to family financial obligations as the sole bread winner. In 1950 she met and married the love of her life, Merle Strickland. While Merle attended years of schooling at business college, university and seminary, Joyce supplemented his part time salaries to support the family. She excelled as bookkeeper and office manager for three major radio stations in Memphis, TN and Fort Worth, TX. In 1968 her husband Merle, now a Reverend, became a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Joyce was able to retire and enjoy living in various locations throughout the US and Okinawa, Japan. After Merle's retirement in 1988 to Memphis, TN, they subsequently lived in Hernando, MS and Apollo Beach, FL. Joyce was a faithful church member of Simmons Loop Baptist Church in Riverview, FL. She enjoyed collecting antiques, sewing, cooking and crafts. She is preceded in death by her parents, Jesse and Elvie Savell; siblings Jesse Savell, Jr., Bernice Wilson and Lasley Savell. She is survived by her husband Cdr. Merle E. Strickland, USN Ret., daughter Denise Cates and son-in-law Robert Cates; granddaughter Jesseca Allen and her husband Tommy Allen. In lieu of flowers please make donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN or Simmons Loop Baptist Church, Riverview, FL. Arrangements for the memorial service are incomplete at this time.
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