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Local couple have influenced many art forms, programs

<p>Creag Rowland / Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Judith and George Strickland are founders of the Tumbleweed Tales Society and the Shakespeare Round Table. The couple moved here in 2001 to retire but found a better use for their talents.</p>

Creag Rowland / Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Judith and George Strickland are founders of the Tumbleweed Tales Society and the Shakespeare Round Table. The couple moved here in 2001 to retire but found a better use for their talents.

George and Judith Brooks-Strickland moved to Pahrump in 2001 and put their combined talents to use providing literary, cultural and artistic programs for the community. For them, this was the second chapter of their lives. The first chapter is a story of two divergent tales.

Since retirement, George has reinvented himself as a writer, poet and comedian. He founded the Tumbleweed Tales Society to share with other writers his love of literary art.

Judith brings her vast knowledge of Shakespeare’s writings and the Elizabethan Era to the Shakespeare Round Table. Her goal is to have fans of the bard, gain a better understanding of the language and culture of those times.

The Shakespeare Round Table meets Tuesdays from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. The next meeting is July 29.

The Tumbleweed Tales Society meets the first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The next meeting is Aug. 2.

Both organizations meet at the Pahrump Community Library and are entirely funded by George Strickland. The meetings are free. The public is always welcome. The library is located at: 701 S. East St. For information call the library at (775)727-5930 or George at (775)727-8545.

George Strickland was born in 1941 in Alpharetta, Ga. He grew up on a family farm, where he lived with pioneer-style challenges. After high school, he joined the U.S. Army Reserve while working at various other jobs.

In 1971, he signed up for active duty in the U.S. Army. His first assignment was with the 82nd Airborne Infantry. His military career continued with the Army as a manager, administrator and teacher. He was a logistics supervisor and platoon sergeant for brigade headquarters in the Persian Gulf, where he earned the Bronze Star.

After serving in the military for 26 years, he went on to earn an Associates Degree in Applied Science of Graphic Technology. His emphasis was on photography.

Judith Brooks-Strickland grew up in a non-English speaking immigrant community in Buffalo, N.Y. Her mother was one of the first Japanese war brides of World War II. As a result, Judith could only speak broken English when she began school.

In later years, these factors influenced her greatly. She sought out opportunities to establish English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. The goal was to help immigrant professionals to obtain grasp of the English language and be able to compete equally for employment opportunities.

Throughout her educational process, she worked full and part time resulting in her development of alternate business careers. While she was teaching, she was also following her academic path. Some of those non-academic careers include working as a claims adjuster, a corporate legal secretary, a projects control engineer and later a budget analyst. Judith said, “I have always believed that academic and non-academic worlds enhance each other.

“My mother provided me with a wonderful cultural opportunity. She had studied Japanese Kabuki and semi-classical dance, for 21 years in Japan, as well as music. She taught me to perform cultural dances. We performed together for 27 years on stage, TV and in cultural and educational events,” Judith said.

She continued, “This unique part of my life led me to develop public speaking initiatives in cultural education. These opportunities led to additional scholarships for school and winning competitions in original oratory.”

Her academic career began by earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Canisius College, Buffalo and a Masters Degree in English from State University College of New York at Buffalo.

During her career she has been an instructor and academic administrator. She has taught college and high school courses for 22 years in English literature, grammar and public speaking. She has also conducted Shakespeare seminars, served as an academic dean for continuing education at Bryant and Stratton Business Institute, in Buffalo, N.Y.

Contact author Creag Rowland by emailing creag.pvtimes@gmail.com.

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