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James Carlton Strawn
July 24, 1960 ~ July 2, 2023 (age 62) 62 Years Old
Some blessings in life are still painful and with that being said, it is with mixed emotions that we announce the passing of James Carlton Strawn.
James was born on July 24, 1960, to Wayne Roberts and Charlene Hoffman in Graham, Texas. As a young boy, his mother re-married Vyron Strawn and Vyron adopted James and officially made him a Strawn. Later in life, Charlene married Ronald Grell who had a beautiful father and son relationship with James.
Growing up in Graham, Texas, he loved spending time outside in nature: from biking to fishing and everything in between.
After high school, James joined the Army National Guard and served his country while living in New Mexico. Following his completion of service, he worked as a derrick hand on an oil rig.
James had every opportunity in the world given to him. From a young age, he was unfortunately introduced to alcohol and drugs. After he married Barbara Strawn on January 16, 1981, in Mexico, they welcomed their one and only child, Derick Strawn. Unfortunately, even becoming a father could not destroy the tight bonds of addiction. By the time Derick was 3 months old, James had fled once again, returning to the cycle of addiction, detox, moments of sobriety; eventually he was sentenced to prison in Texas.
Although many of you didn't know him personally, you probably passed him on a street corner at one point in time while traveling through the Oklahoma City (OKC) metro in the past few years. He pan-handled most of the popular corners in downtown OKC, using his collected donations to supply his drug addiction, a little food and occasionally just enough to get a hotel room.
At the end of James' life, the only valuable item to call his own was a silver necklace found in his possession. Half of the necklace had been given as a gift to him many years ago and the other half given to his son Derick. James' life inspired Derick to work hard, and be the best and most present dad and husband possible, a story opposite from the father figure he had grown up with.
James' family hopes that the next time you see a homeless person on the street corner, you pray for them. Pray for the family that is most likely worried for the individual or maybe doesn't even know if they are even still alive. Pray for all the little kids out there that have lost their mom or dad to addiction and the streets. Pray for the wives who have lost a spouse, the parents who have lost a child, or those who are scared and having to hide from the person. Possibly, just give them a smile and wave instead of rolling your eyes or not giving eye contact at all. Most importantly, remember that God is our ultimate judge and healer. He loved James just as much as he loves the pastor in the pulpit and he healed James the second he stepped into eternity. None of that would've been possible if James hadn't had that moment in his life when he repented of his sins and asked Jesus to come into his heart.
While we are sad that there are so many things that will now never be, we are happy he is at peace with our Saviour and for once, we know exactly where he is and that is a blessing.
James is preceded in death by his biological father Wayne Roberts, adopted father Vyron Strawn and his chosen father Ronald Grell, brother Frederick Strawn, and his Aunt Ann.
James is survived by his son Derick Strawn and wife Breanne of Piedmont, three grandchildren, his loving and devoted mother Charlene Grell, Barbara Strawn, his Aunt Lois, Aunt Jeri, and Barbara, and numerous other family members and friends.
He will be laid to rest later this summer.