Bill and Okemah Strickland and family
Bayhealth Foundation

Honoring family through an investment in community health

A shared love for the downstate community is what inspires the Strickland family to give back. Bill Strickland, president of a Dover-based insurance company, has been a strong supporter of Bayhealth for many years. He is a Bayhealth, Inc. Board member and serves as chair of the Campaign for Bayhealth — Phase III, a capital fundraising campaign that supports the health campus project in southern Delaware.

“My father was chair of the Milford Memorial Hospital Board and always had an affinity for the people in Milford,” Bill said. “My wife is a breast cancer survivor since 2003. Part of the reason behind our commitment to Phase I of the Campaign was the hope of bringing advanced treatment options to the Bayhealth Cancer Centers.”

Born and raised in Milford, Bill is proud and pleased to be able to give back to the town he loves. “Growing up in Milford is idyllic, and it was and is a very caring community,” he said.

Okemah Strickland was raised in Dover and has owned and operated a local beauty salon for 35 years. In the early 1980s when Bill was an insurance salesman, he met Okemah on a sales call. Being local business owners and growing up in central Delaware, the two had a common bond in the love and appreciation they felt for community.

Okemah plays a key role on the board of the Delaware Breast Council Coalition and both she and Bill have been longtime supporters of the “Runway of Hope” event that has raised thousands of dollars to support cancer care at Bayhealth.

Okemah and Bill have twin sons, Shaun and Justin Strickland. Shaun is a teacher and the head football coach at Milford High School, and Justin is following in his father’s footsteps with a career in insurance sales. Friday nights in the fall are spent watching the Milford High School football team — both Shaun and Justin coach and Bill and Okemah help feed the players after each game.

Serving on more boards, committees, and organizations than are easily quantified, Bill is a selfless leader in central and southern Delaware. Okemah occasionally comments that she seldom sees her husband during the week because of their busy schedules. But both always make time for family, including their much-loved granddaughter.

Bill’s tireless leadership at Bayhealth harks back to an earlier time. “When Kent General and Milford Memorial were started, it was because a few local civic leaders shouldered the difficult task of creating a valuable community asset that they knew was needed by everyone,” said Bayhealth President and CEO Terry Murphy, FACHE. “That’s the spirit and drive I see in Bill Strickland. He is selfless, dedicated, and unafraid to take on big things to improve the quality of life in Delaware.”

Bill’s parents, Jim and Patricia Strickland, live in Milford and are grateful for the care they received at Milford Memorial. Patricia was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1973. MS is an often immobilizing disease of the central nervous system. Jim serves on the Bayhealth Board of Advisors so he can stay abreast of the latest developments at Bayhealth.

“Our commitment to the Campaign for Bayhealth — Phase III is in honor of my parents; the physical therapy my mother has received over the years at Milford Memorial has been wonderful,” Bill said. “I am grateful and happy to be able make this donation towards further advancements in treatment options and to recognize and honor my parents.”

The 440,000-square-foot Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus is slated to open in 2019 just off Route 1 in Sussex County, and will redefine healthcare in southern Delaware.

“Donating towards healthcare is one of the best ways to give back to the community. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ but when ‘when’ you or your family may need the services at Bayhealth,” Bill said. “We are investing in making sure that when that happens, you will receive the best medical care possible.”

Visit for more information about the new health campus in southern Delaware. Contact the Bayhealth Foundation at 302-744-7015 to learn how you can support this exciting project.

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