January 6, 1954 - April 28, 2020
Earl Strong Jr.
January 6, 1954 – April 28, 2020
Earl Strong Jr was born January 6 1954 in Portland Oregon and passed on April 28 2020 in Portland Oregon of undetermined natural causes. He was the first of 6 children between Eleanor Strong and Earl Strong Sr., 16 and 18 at the time of his birth and recently migrated from the south. As they raised their firstborn son Earl Jr and 3 more children between them, Eleanor would go on to become an ultrasound technician and civil rights activist, and Earl Sr would serve in the U.S. Army. Earl Sr passed tragically in accident when Earl Jr was only 12, and none of the family was every the same.
Earl completed all of his schooling in Portland and would go on to be a brilliant student of history and social sciences and an avid reader of history and fiction–particularly science fiction. In his 40s he worked hard to earn a Bachelor’s degree from Portland State University. Earl played baseball, football, basketball, and ran track. At one time in high school Earl was one of the fastest sprinters in the state of Oregon. He would go on to work in a saw mill, a factory, several service positions, and overcame many obstacles to finish his working years proudly as a longshoreman.
Some of the things Earl enjoyed the most were family parties and gatherings– with food, music, and dancing, a lot of love and where everyone was invited. His favorite music was R&B, especially Freddy Jackson and R. Kelly. His ideal party would also have people playing chess and checkers and doing the electric slide…and ribs, obviously ribs. We will miss that “Heyy!!” and the way his face lit up when his song came on…and he had a lot of songs.
Earl, like his parents, had a lot of love for people, and always wanted to make sure the whole family was taken care of. There was no extended family or distant relatives or even friends really, just family, and he treated them all like they were close family. He loved to tell a story about him and all of his cousins getting in a big brawl with these white kids in high school– partly because they won that fight, but mostly because he just loved family unity, even if it meant we had to fight somebody.
He had 3 wives and 6 children in his lifetime: DeMalcolm and Akaya Brown, Earl III, Rayna, Micah, and Micaiah Strong. All of Earl’s family was his greatest love, and his children were by far his greatest source of pride and achievement. Earl bursted with pride for each of his children and eventually 6 grandchildren in his last years.
Earl was preceded in death by his daughter Akaya, his parents and all 3 of the siblings he was raised with, but was blessed to have close relationships later in life with siblings Larry Turner and Mercedes Dawes. Earl experienced a lot of trauma in his life, but it was far outweighed by the laughter, they joy, and the love. He usually had the right attitude about everything, even as the strokes began and the dementia set in. His greatest wish was to have all of his family together for a big party, so that everyone could “at least know each other”…with emphasis on the family from the Arkansas and Los Angeles. A few of his top sayings were important reminders for enjoying your life and being a joy to be around, like Earl: … “you gotta ease up on it”…“ain’t no issue”… “handle yo business”…and “excuuuse me”— reminding you to take it slow and easy…to work until it’s done…and to always be respectful AND outspoken.