Conner Strickland Obit

Conner Strickland died on April 16, he was 20. (Courtesy/Rynee Strickland)

Conner Strickland, a sophomore at the University of Georgia and a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, died on April 16. He was 20. 

Strickland died when his house, located on South Lumpkin Street, caught fire.

Born in Athens on November 26, 2001, Strickland grew up in Greene County, Georgia, and enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing and spending time on Lake Oconee. 

Strickland was a part of close-knit circles both at school and at home. One person especially close to him was his girlfriend, sophomore Lydia Hardy. 

“I felt like I had known him for years after hanging out with him for like a month,” Hardy said. “It was so easy for us to get close.”

Hardy and Strickland had been dating for around a year at the time of his death. The two first met in downtown Athens and connected instantly. Hardy said her favorite memories together are sharing slices at Fully Loaded Pizza Kitchen, going to the lake and riding a boat for the first time. 

Hardy said Strickland was close with his fraternity brothers and had a passion for his truck, spending the majority of his time with loved ones and enjoying water activities like boating. Hardy said Strickland also respected his family and viewed his father as his role model.  

Friends of Strickland, who they referred to as “Nado,” shared their memories online. 

Jackson Cown, one of Strickland’s best friends and roommates, said in an Instagram post that he was “one of the brightest spots in all of our lives, [and his] presence could make a whole room smile and laugh.”

Holton Simmons, a friend of Strickland’s, shared his love for air guitar and Georgia football. 

Simmons said in an Instagram post, “You could walk the town of Athens and 95% of the people you passed knew Conner.”

An obituary from McCommons Funeral Home said Strickland’s high school teachers described him as having natural leadership qualities, wit, intelligence and uplifting those around him.

Strickland was working toward a degree in risk management and insurance. Those close to him said his big personality and inclusive nature made him memorable outside of the classroom. 

Almost 200 people came to remember his life on April 20 at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house. The vigil brought friends and community members out to commemorate him. 

Strickland is survived by his mother and father, Rynee and Michael Strickland, and his brother, Hayden Strickland. His family asks that any memorials be sent to Extra Special People, Inc., 189 VFW Drive, Watkinsville, GA 30677.