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Merle A. Strickland
© Cheyenne Star
Submitted by: Wanda Purcell



Merle A. Strickland, a long-time Randall County and Amarillo Lawman, died Tuesday, May 7, 1991 in an Amarillo Hospital. He was 65 years of age.
Merle was born December 8, 1925 to Merle E. "Dick" and Annie Laura Strickland in Durham, Oklahoma, growing up in the Durham community and graduating from the Durham High School.
He was a Veteran of World War II serving in the Army.
Following the war he returned to Durham where he operated a small grocery store.
In 1942, he and Arleva Ruth Leitner were married. They continue to operate the store until moving to Amarillo, Texas to make their home.
Mr. Strickland began his career at the Amarillo Police Department in July, 1951, when police science was in its infancy, and the polygraph test was first being developed as a investigative tool. When the police department moved to a new quarters in 1956, he helped up build a new record system. He resigned in 1957, holding the rank of lieutenant to become the security education supervisor at Pantex Ordinance Plant.
After a year at Pantex, he joined the Randall County Sheriff's Department. He was the county's polygraph examiner, jailer, record's supervisor and scientific aids laboratory man. Early in his career, Strickland developed an interest in polygraph testing as a crime-fighting tool. He was among the first officers in Texas to become proficient in the new investigative method. After being licensed as a polygraph operator, he was the examiner for all the Texas Panhandle and parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado, all while he was on the Amarillo Police Force. He earned an advanced and instructor's certificate from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, enabling him to teach in any police academy.
He was married three years ago to Doris J. Cardwell and was a member of the Church of Christ.
He worked with Cecil Burch in helping troubled boys.
Preceding him in death was his first wife Arleva in 1987, his father in 1971 and his son, Gail in the Vietnam War in 1969.
Survivors include his wife, Doris of the home; his mother, Annie Strickland of Cheyenne, Oklahoma; two daughters, Karen Harp of Knoxville, Tennessee; and Doris Newman of Carter, Oklahoma; one granddaughter, Annie Newman of Yale, Oklahoma; one sister, Carolyn Curb of Clovis, New Mexico; two brothers, Bill Strickland of Elk City, Oklahoma; and Ron Strickland of Houston, Texas; as well as other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held Thursday in the Memorial Park Chapel of Memories in Amarillo at 10:00 a.m. with Cecil Burch officiating.
Graveside services were held at 3:00 p.m. in the Prairie Dell Cemetery, Gem City, Hemphill county with the Memorial Park Funeral Home of Amarillo in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation be made to your favorite youth charity.


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