Benjamin Douglas “BJ” Strange was born December 12, 1973, in Denison, TX, to Steve Douglas and Deborah Ann (Bedford) Strange. He passed from this life March 22, 2013, in Antlers, at the age of 39. Ben started school in Denison, TX, at Lane Elementary School. When he was 7 years old, he and his parents moved to the “Old Bedford Place” in Miller Jumbo. This is where the adventure really began. He went to school at Moyers, where he played basketball, made lifelong friends, and adopted a brother, Jamie Holtzman. He graduated from Moyers 9th grade as Valedictorian of his class. BJ then went to Antlers High School, graduating in 1992. He was known as a leader, a friend, and as “wild” as anyone ever had been. He was voted Most Adventurous, and that he was, but not just in body – mostly in mind and spirit. BJ was always a very spiritual person. Very “deep” was how he was often described. However, he didn’t become a Christian until just a few years ago, and then his spirit was truly set free with all those questions finally having answers that made sense. On August 5, 1992, BJ found his true love, Misty LeAnn Hooker. After a whirlwind romance, they married on September 14, 1997, at the beautiful Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, AR. Only once upon a lifetime do two people find one another that both know they were meant to be together for eternity. There was never any question for either of them. No break-ups. During their 15 year marriage, they spent only about a week apart altogether. They truly did have that fairytale union that we all dream of having. On May 24, 1999, their first miracle arrived, Blade Douglas Strange. A strong name for a strong man someday-even if it was too soon. Then miracle number 2, Catlyn LeAnn Strange, completed this beautiful family circle on May 7, 2003. They looked like the picture of a perfect little family – and they truly were. Ben loved his family with everything in him and that was huge. He had no brothers or sisters by birth but far too many chosen to ever name here. He loved them all dearly and they know who they are. He cherished his wife as a best friend, and she him. He realized during his life that his true quest was for true love and he found it and knew what a blessing it was. Ben was a good son to his parents and strived to make them proud of the man he became; always measuring himself by the example set by his father. He enjoyed riding horses with his kids and loved his animals and his home. He took very seriously his responsibility to care for others like his parents, his mother-in-law, Annette Shannon, his baby sis, Mallory Shannon, his Poppy, Bearl Payne, and his Aunt Jean and Grandmother Bobbie Bedford; as well as his Granny Fannie Strange. But most importantly, his wife and beautiful kids. Ben loved his job working for Eric Leyba, the first friend he made in this valley. He did ranch work and became a member of the Leyba family in the process. He was a faithful member of the Miller Baptist Church and loved his church family with all his heart. Ben was preceded in death by his grandfathers: Ben Bedford and Jess Douglas Strange; his special Granny: Fannie Strange; uncles: Tully Bedford, Albert Strange, & Jim “Catfish” Ketchum; aunt: Shin Bedford; cousin: Mike Strange; and special friend/brother: Kenneth L. Conley. He is survived by his wife and best friend: Misty LeAnn Strange; a handsome strong son: Blade Douglas Strange; and a beautiful daughter: Catlyn LeAnn Strange all of the happy family home in Miller; his parents: Steve Douglas & Deborah Ann Strange of the Miller Jumbo area; uncles: Mike Bedford & wife Laurie of Miller Jumbo, Harold Strange & wife Heather of Colbert, and Mike Ernest & wife Bobbie of Sweet Home, TX; aunt: Dawn Ketchum of Cripple Creek, CO; cousins: Bobbye Jean Bedford Alvidrez & husband Andy of San Antonio, TX, John David Ketchum & wife Renae of Cripple Creek, CO, Brandy Bedford and companion Sheldon of Denison, Texas, Brule Bedford of Denison, TX, Justin Strange of Colbert, Oklahoma, Lisa Luckie & husband Jerry of Denison, TX, Brian Strange, Laurie Strange, Jessie “Jo” Strange, Wendy Strange, and numerous other cousins and family members. His married family – mother-in-law: Annette Shannon; inlaws: Larry & Cathey Hooker; sisters: Mallory Shannon, Jennifer Kinslow & husband Tanner, and Madison Wyatt; brother: Brad Hooker & wife Lori. His chosen family – Jamie & Carla Holtzman and Amelia & Jemma, Rocky Duncan, Cody & Melissa Hembree and Kaylee, George & Martha Lankford and family, Lonnie & Angie Austin and Lucas, Lisa Hilbert, Isiah Conley, Ian Conley, T.J. Hargrove and Nolan & Tristan, Glen Morgan & Katrina and family, Chris Dial and family, Joy & Elwood Dial, John Paul Smith and family, Jamie Landreth and family, Shirley & J.D. Johnson and family, Richard & Susan Walls and family, Kevin Hilley, Judy & Kenny Belk and family, Kristina & Kenny Ashcraft, Daniel & Becca Bascue, Sarah Cole, Shannon Crow, Desean Tribble, Mike & Sandra Trent and Casie Marie Trent, The entire Leyba family, Kim Anderson & family, and Christy Hafer Wilson and family. Funeral Services were held at 2:00 PM, Friday, March 29, 2013 at Miller Baptist Church with Brad Perrin, Terry Williams, & Pastor Chris Gibson officiating. Music was “The Prayer”, “Farther Along”- Congregational led by Mrs. Fleeta Whiteside, “To Live Is To Fly”, “Rex’s Blues”, “One More Song”, & “Desperados Waiting For A Train”. Pallbearers included Jamie Holtzman, Rocky Duncan, Lonnie Austin represented by Lucas Austin, Chris Dial, Cody Hembree, Glen Morgan, Isiah Conley representing his father, Ken, Eric Leyba, Jamie Landreth, Kevin Hilley, & TJ Hargrove with Honorary Pallbearers as JT Hargrove, John Paul Smith, Brent Smith, Kenny Ashcraft, Daniel Bascue, Desean Tribble, Harlon Hargrove, Mike Hargrove, Henry Cathey, Ricky Don Brown, Chuck Alexander, Marlin Dial, Dustin “Bucket” Trent, Kasey Kearns, Mike Trent, Chuck Landua, Kevin Daniel Smith, Jason Smith, & Jason Kuykendall. Interment followed at Miller Cemetery.
Funeral Services were conducted by:
Mills~Coffey Funeral Home in Antlers