BIO Index

Gene Strickland

I attended MJC long enough to realize that I shouldn't waste anymore time or money.

After the Cuban Missile Crisis I enlisted in the US Navy May 1963. I attended boot camp and electronics school at US Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois. After school I was sent to Bremerton, Washington. During Christmas leave in 1965 I married a Manatee High School graduate. I completed service on May 12, 1967 and we drove back to Bradenton.

While living in Bradenton I worked for Sarasota Cable TV repairing their distribution and receiving equipment. I heard about a job working with a subsidiary of General Telephone and worked with them installing and updating microwave and carrier equipment from Tampa to Sarasota and central Florida. We bought a home in Sarasota and got our SCUBA certification. I loved diving in the keys and springs. While living in Sarasota I saw a picture on the cover of Parade Magazine of John Perry owner of Perry Oceanographics in Riviera Beach sitting on a small, yellow submarine. I wrote them a letter and was interviewed and hired to work in their research lab, building, testing and repairing auto pilots and motor controls. I even got to dive in them. The submarines were mainly used for inspection of oil rigs and pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico and Saudi Arabia. We sold our house and moved to West Palm Beach. Perry was a fun place to work but they weren't selling a lot of submarines so I was offered a job with Perry Cable TV. In 1970 I set up a repair department repairing all of the receiving and distribution equipment for Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, Jupiter Island, Tequesta, Stuart and Jensen Beach.

In 1971 we were blessed with a daughter, Wendy. Showing Wendy places we enjoyed was like seeing them again for the first time.

I accepted a job in Plantation, Florida in 1973 involved with the initial cable television system for the area. We actually did live in city council meetings and played back recorded high school football games on Friday nights way back then. After that I was hired by Leadership Housing to help them start a cable television system in West Boca Raton. Leadership also had the cable television franchises for Delray Beach, Gulfstream and Ocean Ridge. In 1975 construction was started in the Delray Beach cable system. I attended Home Box Office's first satellite broadcast for cable television, The Thrilla in Manila, the Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier match. In 1978 the company was sold to a partnership and they promoted me to System Manager. We later installed Florida's 4th ten meter receive only earth station in Delray Beach to receive HBO, Madison Square Garden and USA Network.

In I980 I was divorced from my wife of fifteen years. I moved from our house in Boca Raton to a condominium in Delray Beach. I was single for five years. I decided to take an evening Chinese cooking class at the local high school. The first night I showed up late because of a city commission meeting and my future wife (Dorothea) was sitting at my table. The class was late and there was never enough food for six of us so I invited Dorothea to go to a Chinese restaurant instead of class. I married Dorothea and her cat in 1986. We did a lot of traveling around the country planned around cable television functions.

I attended the party at the Grand Cypress when Arnold Palmer switched on the first satellite broadcast of The Golf Channel. Thanks to HBO, Turner Broadcasting, The Family Channel, American Movie Classics, and Showtime I have personally met Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Turner, Tom Glavin, Steve Avery, Gallagher, Mitzi Gaynor, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Shirley Jones, Evander Holyfield, Sugar Ray Leonard and even Buffalo Bob.

Leadership Cablevision was bought by a larger competitor in 1996. I had been System Manager for eighteen years. We sold our house in Boca and moved to a small place that we owned on a lake in Sebring. Since then I have continued education, took a Digital Electronics course, acquired CISCO Networking Certification, and substituted for the electronics instructor at the local community college. Most mornings I go to Highlands Hammock State Park and walk several miles. Some days I carry my camera.

I keep up with my daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons who live in Birmingham, Alabama. Wendy works as co-host of a morning show on NBC Channel 13 in Birmingham (Daytime Alabama). I am also kept busy as part-time cat nanny for our three cats and as the household head chef.

Gene Strickland

My daughter, Wendy, son-in-law, Tim and grandsons Cole and Reece and myself.