Billy Edward Strickland, 58, a retired country music entertainer who was popular here during the mid-1940s and 1950s, died of cancer Sept. 29 at his home in Christmas, Fla.
Mr. Strickland played steel guitar, sang, and performed comedy routines at country music spots. His band was billed as "Billy Strickland and His Hillbilly Kings and Queen." His first wife, the late Donna Strickland, played drums with the band.
The band played at local square dances and, in 1950, provided the music for a gaint square dance benefit for the D.C. chapter of the American Cancer Society held at the old Uline Arena.
Mr. Strickland wrote much of his own music, including songs like "My Mother's the Queen of My Heart," and "Hillbilly Wolfgal," which he introduced at the Uline Arena benefit. He also was the coauthor of "If This Is Sin," a song popular during the 1950s.
Among the country music performers he worked with are Jimmy Dean, Merle Travis, Grandpa Jones (of the television show "Hee Haw") and Eddie Nesbitt.
Mr. Stricklland recorded for such labels as King Records, Dot Records and Sylvan Records. He is mentioned in the Musical Hall of Fame at Nashville, Tenn.
Mr. Stickland was born in Goldsboro, N.C. He began his musical career in 1932, at the age of 12, playing guitar on a radio station in RockyMount, N.C.
When he was 14, he formed his first band, "Shorty Strickland and the Southern Strollers." They performed mostly in and around South Carolina. Mr. Strickland then worked as a radio disc jockey in Goldsboro and South Carolina, Savannah and Cincinnati.
He came to Washington for the first time around 1943 and lived in Riverdale. He moved to Key West, Fla. in the late 1950s, then returned here in 1963 to pick up his career, until his retirement in 1967, when he moved back to Florida. His first wife died in 1973.
Survivors include his second wife, Judy of the home; three sons, Dennis and Barry of Houston, and Billie Ray, of West Palm Beach, Fla.; two daughters, Peggy Ivy of Goldsboro, and Ladonna Walker of Houston; four brothers, Donald, of Danville, Va., Thomas of Chester, Va., Jackie and Lester, both of Roanoke Rapids, N.C.; three sisters, Doris Leggett, of Williamston, N.C., Margaret Brown and Jean Evans, both of Greenville, N.C., and nine grandchildren.