Pastors' Memoirs

Francis Henry Strieby, 1903-1988

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Francis Henry Strieby entered into eternal life October IS, 1988, and was buried in Levels, West Virginia near his Hampshire County birthplace. Born March 18, 1903, one of six children of a Christian farmer, builder, he was raised close to God and nature in apple orchard country. Following 8th grade graduation, he attended Shepherd State College and Normal School where he was befriended by the Rev. James H. Haley who encouraged his transfer to Randolph-Macon Academy following his call to the ministry. Before graduating in 1923, he waited tables and assisted on a nearby circuit. At Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, he sold books and typewriters, managed tent crews for itinerant evangelists and worked on the reconstruction of a burned dormitory, applying carpentry skills learned from his father. On graduation day in 1927 he married his classmate, Jane Coffee, and both enrolled in Asbury Theological Seminary. Francis served a student appointment in Kentucky, having qualified as local preacher in the Morefield District in 1925. His appointment to Bellepoint-River View churches in Hinton, West Virginia brought him back to the Baltimore conference. He was ordained a deacon and received into full connection in 1930 and ordained an elder in 1933. The Strieby's daughter was born in Hinton and their son at their next charge in Mt. Crawford, Virginia. Francis then served Ridgeway, West Virginia charge. Unification of Methodist churches occurred during his appointment to Wood- stock, Virginia. His first assignment in the new Virginia conference was Denny Street, Richmond, where they suffered the loss of their son. Subsequent appointments were McKendree, Norfolk; Del Ray, Alexandria; Ramsey Memorial, Richmond; Scott Memorial, Virginia Beach; Belmont, Roanoke; Highland, Colonial Heights; and Ferebee-Halstead, Norfolk.  After 41 years of service, Francis and Jean retired to their home in Virginia Beach. In his "Sylvan Dell" (named for his one-room school in West Virginia), Francis raised award-winning camellias and his prized "Peace" roses. During retirement, he served many churches in Tidewater, including an associate position at Virginia Beach Church and a six-month interim at Foundry. Jane passed away in 1975. The following year, Francis married Mary, widow of the Rev. "Mike" Garrison, whom the Striebys met while serving in the Norfolk District in the 1940s. Enjoying the blessing of their new partnership, they served many nearby churches as preacher and organist. They shared a renewed life in travel, the arts, grandparenting and their mutual dedication to the service of God. Mary remained his faithful companion throughout the years of declining health and ultimate dependency. Francis as a "good minister of Jesus Christ," served without stain of character, with deep conviction to the truths of the Gospel and total dedication to his congregations. An excellent preacher with well-prepared sermons, impeccable personal appearance, passion for the souls of all people, devotion to family, love of children, appreciation of fine music, sincere enjoyment of life, dedication to the stewardship of the earth and its creatures -- these were the marks of this man of God, Francis Strieby, whose life we honor in triumphant celebration.

-Carl W Haley and Jane S. Simmons


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