Winston “Strick” Strickland, 70: Barber, activist, husband and father

When his two daughters were young, Winston “Strick” Strickland left home early and came home late. He lived in Cartersville, but worked in Marietta, and there was so much to do in between.

“I used to say to him that he was gone so much that his daughters would not know who he was,” said Rosetta Decatur Strickland, his wife of nearly 48 years.

But that is not how things worked out.

“For all he did for others, I don’t have a childhood memory that doesn’t include my dad,” said daughter Michele Strickland, who lives in the Vinings area. “He was always there for us, and loved being with us.”

Known as Strick around Marietta, Winston in Cartersville and Mac to his family, Strickland enjoyed providing services to the communities where he lived and worked. He ran a barber shop in Marietta for more than 40 years, he also had a grill, a laundromat, a taxi service and a record store, during his entrepreneurial career.

Winston MacArthur Strickland, of Cartersville, died Tuesday at his home, from complications of ALS. He was 70. A funeral was held Saturday at the Cathedral of Turner Chapel A.M.E. Church, Marietta. He was buried Sunday in Cartersville during a private family service. Eppinger Mack & Sons Funeral & Cremation Services, Cartersville, was in charge of services.

Born in Paulding County, Strickland’s family moved to Bartow County when he was a young boy. After graduating from Summer Hill High School, he went to Brown Barber College in Atlanta and graduated in 1962. The son of a sharecropper, Strickland took up barbering because it was a profession where he could make an income that could support a family, his wife said. His barbershop in Marietta, just east of the square, was not only a business landmark in town, but a place of refuge for many who sat in his barber’s chair.

He wasn’t a braggadocious man, he was proud of his accomplishments. His most recent honor came from the Cobb County Bar Association in April. They awarded him the “Liberty Bell,” the highest citizen honor the awards to a non-Bar member. In 1994, he was elected the first black president of the National Association of Barbers. He was appointed to the Georgia Board of Barbers in 1983 by former Gov. Joe Frank Harris, for whom he’d campaigned, and had been chairman of the six-member state board since 1986. Harris introduced Strickland to former Gov. Roy Barnes, who said in an email Friday, “Strick was the ultimate helper of other people. He was the ultimate American success story. The son of a sharecropper who came up in a time when he would have had every right to be angry at white people, he became a bridge of love and understanding.”

While many people knew Strickland as a community activist and businessman, his daughters remember a loving father. His love of life, laughter and family are unforgettable, said his daughter, Monique Strickland-Hall of Cartersville.

“He was so jovial and full of life,” she said. “And he shared those things with everyone, not just us.”

In addition to his wife and daughters, Strickland is survived by sisters Betty Mingo of Atlanta and Gladys Turmon of DeKalb County; brother Wallace Strickland of Yorkville; and two grandchildren.

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