Wilmington flamenco guitarist "Paco" Strickland and I had a couple of important things in common -- surname "Strickland", and we battled the same disease that killed him just weeks ago at 60 -- multiple myeloma.
Things we didn't have in common -- he was a gifted Flamenco performer. I was moderately successful as a ukelele strummer through high school and college, and at any campfire where free beer was served. I studied classical piano at East Carolina University, but later morphed into rock and roll a la Jerry Lee Lewis, which eventually eclipsed my future at Carnegie Hall.
Paco brought a lot of fun and enjoyment to a lot of people. My wife and son and I often heard him at some of the bars on Water Street. Because of that joy he created, I am in no way forced to be reverent and somber on the subject of his passing. I think he would have liked that.
So here's his obituary, published in the Star News on January 23, 2013