Rachel Lackey

Obituary of Rachel Helen Lackey

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Rachel Helen Lackey passed away at the age of 63 on May 9, 2023 at her home just outside of Bryson City, NC after a battle with metastatic breast cancer. The only daughter of the late Mary Kindal Lackey and Winfred Bowen Lackey, Rachel was born on February 24, 1960 in Sumter, SC. She is survived by her loving husband, James (Jim) C. Strickland, Jr., her brother Steven Philip (Phil) Lackey, her bonus daughter, Courtenay Strickland, and grandson, Marcello Antonio Pugliese Strickland. A memorial service for Rachel will be held on Sunday, May 21, 2023 at 2:00 pm at Bryson City Presbyterian Church, where Rachel was serving as music director at the time of her passing. In keeping with her ministry, the service will include a volunteer choir; those wishing to participate are asked to arrive one hour in advance. The service will be followed by a brief reception. Rachel graduated from Furman University in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in music. She received her master’s in religious education from Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY in 1984. An ordained minister and accomplished organist, pianist, and conductor, Rachel served as minister of music in churches in both Georgia and North Carolina, and worked in clinical pastoral education. Along with her husband Jim, Rachel also co-directed the Sabbath House, a retreat center in Bryson City, NC. Her professional development included certification as an enneagram teacher in the narrative tradition. Always involved in her community, Rachel also worked for the Swain County School System in a variety of positions, including fine arts director of the Swain Arts Center and secretary of East Elementary School. Her community commitment was also evidenced in her service as a past coordinator of the Swain County branch of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina. Prior to moving to Bryson City, Rachel served as vice president of Morningstar Children & Family Services, Inc., a Brunswick, GA treatment center that provides residential and community counseling to children, youth, and their families. Known for her optimistic and compassionate approach to life, Rachel was a source of steady joy and support for countless individuals. Said her husband, Jim Strickland, "Rachel was my sunshine on a gray day and every day." Her loved ones are committed to sharing her light through their own lives going forward. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina or to the music program of Bryson City Presbyterian Church.
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Celebration of Life

2:00 pm
Sunday, May 21, 2023
Bryson City Presbyterian Church
311 Everett Street
Bryson City, North Carolina, United States
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Rachel Lackey

In Loving Memory

Rachel Lackey

1960 - 2023

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