Community remembers Strother

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, September 26, 2012

So often, it is “after death that we measure men.”

Sadly for many, the measure of Tommy Strother began on Wednesday.

Those who knew him began with “I can’t say enough…”

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That’s the measure of H.T. “Tommy” Strother of Troy.

Strother died Wednesday leaving behind a legacy of love and caring for his fellowman.

“I say with all honesty that Mr. Strother was the greatest man that I have ever known,” said Linda Dansby, who worked 14 years for Strother, who was then CEO of Brundidge Banking Company in Brundidge. “I just can’t say enough about him. He was a great man and a great boss. He cared about his employees and his clients. He did so much for people behind the scenes. What he did, he did because he cared about people, not for any recognition.”

Dansby said Strother received great joy from doing for others.

“He was a regular visitor at the nursing home in Troy,” she said. “He often took the residents cookies and, sometimes, meals from local restaurants. He just cared about people. He was a devout Christian and he led by example.”

Devotionals were part of the workweek at Brundidge Banking Company.

“Every Monday, we had a devotional and Mr. Strother led it,” Dansby said. “We always had prayer when somebody was sick or in real need. Mr. Strother had a strong influence on me and I’m sure on all of us who worked for him. He was a strict businessman but he had a big heart. He taught me so much and I’ll always be grateful.”

Strother retired as CEO and president of Brundidge Banking Company in 1995 and he and his wife, Elva, later moved to Troy.

Strother, a Brundidge native, was a lifelong friend of Lawrence Bowden.

“Tommy and I go back a long way,” Bowden said. “We were in high school together. He joined the Navy and served in the Battle of Midway. He was a good friend and I had the utmost respect for him.”

Bowden said Strother was a strong supporter of Brundidge United Methodist Church from the time he “first embraced Jesus as his Lord and Savior.”

“A few years ago, our church honored Tommy for his service over the many years and all that he meant to BUMC,” Bowden said. “He served in every position in the church. He took each job seriously. He believed in doing things methodically and was always well organized. He was well read and understood the issues. He made sure that things were done the right way and he was willing to speak out when things were not being done right. He was a Christian and his influence was felt throughout the church and beyond.”

Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage said that, as a young man Strother came home from college when his dad died to run the family business, People’s Electric. There he honed his skills as a businessman and became an active member of the Brundidge business community.

“Tommy was running the electric company when I was elected to the city commission in 1976,” Ramage said. “I was put in charge of the city’s utility department and worked closely with him. He was very patient with me because I knew absolutely nothing about the department. He was an excellent businessman and I had great admiration for him as a businessman and as a man. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

Sherroll Tatom was president of Brundidge Banking Company when Strother was the CEO.

“Tommy was a smart banker. He was a money maker,” Tatom said. “I don’t remember the figures but I do know that, after he became CEO, the bank grew by leaps and bounds.”

Tatom said Strother was offered the directorship of the state banking department but he turned it down.

“He was where he wanted to be and doing what he wanted to do,” Tatom said. “He loved Brundidge and he worked to make it a better place. He was a good man. A Christian man and he will be missed.”

Joann Ross said there was a side to Strother that many never had an opportunity to see.

Strother was a devoted member of the Brundidge Lions Club but he was willing to do anything he could for his community, even join forces with another service club.

He agreed to participate in the Brundidge Rotary Club’s fund-raiser as Willie Nelson.

“Mr. Strother dressed with hair braids and western clothes and played the guitar,” Ross said. “I was one of his backup singers. I got to see the fun side of Mr. Strother. I already knew the business side and the caring side of that great Christian man.”