Ian Thomas Strickler was born August 7, 1987, in Ranson, West Virginia. He was raised by his mom, Alice, and surrounded by his grandparents, Margaret and Bill; his aunt and uncle, Barbara and Jay; and his cousins, Adam, Aaron, and Ethan. He moved to Luray, Virginia, in 1992, and was adopted by his dad, David, in 1994. He grew up on the family farm with his parents, his sister, Samantha; grandparents, Franklin and Francis; aunts and uncles, James and Kim, Philip and Lynn; and cousins, Jason, Jami, Sarah, and Joseph. He spent his early years playing video games, participating in baseball and marching band, and riding around the farm on the 4-wheeler. Ian graduated from Luray High School in 2005.
Ian attended James Madison University, majoring in criminal justice. His love for the marching band transferred over to college, and he thrived as a Marching Royal Duke. He played the tuba and trombone. It was here that he met his best friends, Andrew, Bob, Alex, and Chris. This group of friends created some special memories in college—cake eating contests, Saturday football tailgating (Go Dukes!), and hotel shenanigans during away games. Ian was part of the fraternity Phi Mu Alpha. He graduated from JMU in 2011.
After college, Ian moved to Boston, where he worked in police and security for many companies. He eventually landed at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he worked as a special state police officer. It is here that he met and fell in love with his future wife, Stephanie, who works as an ER nurse. After growing their relationship and getting married on June 4, 2022, in Fryeburg, Maine, they took the plunge and moved back to Virginia in May 2023 to be closer to his family.
Craving camaraderie, brotherhood, and family, Ian took the leap and switched professions to become a firefighter. He had seen the joy it brought to his uncle, Jay, and cousin, Aaron. Ian was devoted to being a public servant. He always believed in a cause greater than his own. As a recruit firefighter in Class 14 at FCFR, he was asked to be the class leader, and his fellow recruits quickly dubbed him “Boston.”
Ian was an avid sports fan, supporting his Boston Red Sox and his Roll Tide. You could also catch him watching F1 on the weekends. Having moved back to Virginia, Ian loved trying out new breweries and restaurants with his wife and parents and catching up on all the county fairs he grew up loving.
His death has left a hole in the hearts of everyone who had the privilege of knowing him. We will continue to cherish the memories we have of him in the days to come.