Strickland graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1952. He went on to major in electronics at San Bernardino Valley College. He then went on to attend Los Angeles City College, where he majored in music. He was a talented tenor saxophonist, with a true appreciation for music. He was also a talented baseball player. In 1956, he married his sweetheart Susan McCoy and they had two children, Regina and Eric.
Strickland’s father, Errol Strickland, parents and siblings came to Riverside, California in 1916 and was the second wave of African Americans to reside in Riverside. Errol became the first Black administrator for the City of Riverside, heading the sanitation department. Strickland’s cousin, Ed Strickland was the first Black firefighter in Riverside while Reggie was the first Black newspaper publisher in Riverside, creating a weekly newspaper called the “Riverside Reporter”.
In 1996, the Urban League presented the Strickland family with an award as one of the founding families in Riverside.
Strickland was documented in a KCET SoCal Focus commentary on Saint Valentine’s Day: Sweethearts Even Now, After Decades of Love by Riverside author and University of California, Riverside professor Susan Straight.
Straight writes: This is serious love. Reggie and Susan Strickland, were married 56 years ago at Park Avenue Baptist. Susan McCoy went to Irving School, too, and Reggie Strickland went there for 3rd grade, but they had already met before then — when he stayed at his grandmother’s house near Susan’s home at 10th and Park Avenue.
For decades, Susan worked as a teacher and volunteered tirelessly for both the Riverside African-American Historical Society and the Riverside Mexican-American Historical Society, while she wrote papers and graded papers, and Reggie ran his own newspaper, the Riverside Reporter, taking photos and writing the articles, and at night, playing in jazz bands at clubs all over Southern California.
When Reggie developed major heart trouble and was hospitalized, Susan was there every day. Everyone knows the traditional vows — in sickness and in health. How many wedding shows are on television right now — how many gowns and cakes and bridezillas and unsure grooms and unhappy bridesmaids? There are really no wedding weeks. There is a wedding day (well, yes, there are destination wedding weekends) and then there is the rest of your married life. Richer or poorer.
Reggie was preceded in death by his parents, Errol Strickland and Sammye Hollman, and his brother Lonnie Harvey.
Reggie leaves to cherish his memory. his loving and devoted wife, Sue, his daughter Regina Haywood and her husband Mike Haywood, his son, Eric Strickland, and his wfe, Rica Strickland, his granddaughter, Emiko, his step-mother, Hazel Strickland, two sisters. Sylvia Shanklin and Michelle Strickland, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He will be deeply missed.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Riverside African American Historical Society.