Robert Albert Strope of Fayetteville, who served three decades as the city’s fire chief until his retirement in 2007, passed away on Sunday (Dec. 2, 2018). He was 76.
“On behalf of the City of Fayetteville, we’re deeply saddened for the loss of Robert,” said Mayor Michael Whisenant. “His contributions to our community and our state through his service with the Fayetteville Fire Department will long be remembered, and I’d like to extend our condolences to his family. They are in our prayers.”
Current Fayetteville Fire Chief Coby Moon also expressed his condolences to the family, saying the last time he saw Robert was at a structure fire Oct. 4 – “Robert had actually called it in,” said Moon. “He had been outside and smelled the smoke … He stayed right there with us the whole time we were there.
“Robert loved the fire department, and he was a good leader,” Moon added. “He did a lot as a member of the 911 Board here and was instrumental in the development of the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy.”
The academy, located in Bedford County, includes a fire station named in Strope’s honor during its 2002 dedication.
Robert was born on Oct. 2, 1942 in Huntland to the late Jessie and Sue Nell Cook Strope. He spent his life in service to the Lord and Lincoln County. In 1978, he was named chief of the Fayetteville Fire Department after having worked in civil defense for 14 years. He was recognized in 1994 as Outstanding Fire Chief of the Year by the Tennessee Fire Chiefs’ Association, of which he went on to serve as president in 1997. Over the years, he weighed in heavily on state legislation, including a 2003 bill requiring state building and fire inspectors to be certified. Prior to that, he was the first certified fire inspector in the state and the second certified building inspector in the state.
In addition, Strope served as a member of the Lincoln County Board of Education and remained heavily involved in Leadership Lincoln, the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Airport Authority, and the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Museum Association.
His favorite charity with which to be involved was the Lincoln County Toy Drive, which he headed up for many years. He was also a member of Fayetteville First Baptist Church.
Survivors include his wife, Judy Ramona Hall Strope; children, Jennifer Stanly of Flintville and Tony Strope of Meridianville, Ala.; step-children, Sammy Whitworth, Kimberly Smith Vedrani and Trae Smith, all of Fayetteville; seven grandchildren; loved step-grandchildren; step-great-grandchildren; brother, James Strope; and first wife, Betty Richardson Strope.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his second wife, Rebecca Strope.
Funeral service will be conducted at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Fayetteville First Baptist Church with Dr. Jon Hathcock officiating. Burial will follow in Higgins Cedar Hills Memorial Gardens. Visitation with the family will be held Wednesday from 11 a.m. until time of service at 1 p.m.
Memorials may be made to the Lincoln County Toy Drive at P.O. Box 9, Fayetteville, TN 37334.
Higgins Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family.