Kenneth "Ken" Edward Strong
May 9, 1951 – August 6, 2018
Obituary of Kenneth Edward Strong
Kenneth Edward Strong was born to Anne Carol and George Andrew Strong on May 9, 1951 in Southampton, Long Island, New York.
As a toddler he lived in a chicken house-turned family home on a portion of his grandfather's potato farm where he probably would have followed generations of his ancestors into farming potatoes had not his father, tired of farming, moved the family to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1955.
Ken lost his father to cancer in 1962, and at the age of eleven, assumed the role of "the man of the house." As a single working parent his mother was unable to participate in most of his extracurricular activities, and it was during these formative years that Ken's craving for a "real" family, where he could take an active part in HIS children's lives, was born. That desire came to fruition tenfold, with five children and six grandchildren. He cherished the time he spent with his grandchildren...when he pulled out all the stops and let out his inner child to play with them.
Ken's love affair with music began at a summer music program between elementary and junior high school. He joined his junior high school band playing tenor saxophone just as his dad had in high school. He continued to excel in school bands through high school, when, in his senior year, he won the much coveted position as Drum Major. He excelled in math and graduated in the top 10% of his class.
It was in the high school band that he met Marianna Dickerson, and they were married on July 4, 1972. The marriage lasted 24 years, and they continued to co-parent their five children after the divorce. When the grandchildren began arriving they spent holidays, birthdays, and family reunions as a whole family. Those were some of his most joyous occasions.
He served in the Navy from 1971 to 1977. He excelled in the electronics and nuclear power training schools during the first two years. He completed patrols on a nuclear powered submarine and a surface ship based in Charleston, South Carolina. His two older children, Jesse and Wendy, were born there.
He moved his young family to Tucson, Arizona in 1979 to be closer to his mom and siblings. His three other children, Joey, Casey, and Carrie were born there. He and Marianna wanted a large family, and they got their wish!
He had many talents and skills, but one of his proudest careers was as owner and operator of Strong Business Machines. He repaired and maintained office equipment.
In his later years, his greatest joys were at our family reunions and being Pop Pop to his six grandchildren. He baby sat them and had sleepovers with them. He fed and nurtured every interest of theirs. He was the greatest of playmates, garbage truck observers, and pancake makers. He was the most creative builder of doll houses, T-Rex masks, and Rapunzel towers, to name a few.
He had been through some struggles in his life and had some regrets, and was working on making amends to those he had hurt in his family.
He passed away unexpectedly, on August 6, 2018, at the age of 67, and we are heartbroken. He is survived by his five children: Jesse Strong, Wendy Gomez, Joey Strong, Casey Strong, and Carrie Landis; and six grandchildren: Ethan, Ella, Jason, Austin, Olivia, and Ava. He is also survived by his sisters Kathy Hutchison and Karen Mann, and brother Chip Strong; nieces Gretchen Tayloe and Jacklyn Mann; and ex-wife Marianna Strong.
No one can take his place and life will never be the same without him. We are dedicated to keeping his memory alive for his six grandchildren.
Services will be held on Saturday, August 25, at 9:30 a.m. in the chapel at East Lawn Palms Mortuary and Cemetery, 5801 E. Grant Road, Tucson, AZ 85712.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to a Veteran’s organization or the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.
- Celebration of Life Saturday, August 25, 2018
- Urn Committal Saturday, August 25, 2018
Kenneth "Ken" Edward Strong
August 19, 2018
Ken, until we meet again in the sweet by and by, I will forever love and miss you.
He who lives in the hearts of others lives forever.