Becky Conover Strange chose her friends. She chose them, then she told them they were chosen.
She would not take no for an answer, and because of her persistence, she has left a community filled with friends who now mourn an extraordinary loss.
Becky died in an automobile accident Sunday at the age of 46. She had just recently married Brian Strange, and her life was filled with love that she shared with anyone who crossed her path.
“Our friendship started with me having my son a birthday party when our boys were in 6th grade. I ended up taking 10 boys home with me to spend the night and her son, Jordan, was one of them,” recalls Becky’s best friend, Jennie Snider. “That’s how we met. Then our boys played basketball together and became best friends, and she let me know that our boys were best friends so we were gonna be best friends.”
Jennie said she thought Becky was “weird” at first, but Becky kept telling her that she would learn to love Becky, and she did.
“We were complete opposites. She was very outgoing and I was the quiet one. She spent a lot of time trying to ‘break me,’ and she did. We started hanging out and I loved her immediately when I gave in to her – she was such a sweet soul – she has been there for me no matter the time or day.”
Becky was there for Jennie when Jennie went through a divorce.
“She got me back in church, prayed with me any time things got rough for me,” Jennie said.
They were as close as sisters, taking vacations together, traveling together for ball games, and they loved each other’s children.
“My son considered her as a second mom,” Jennie said. “She loved my children as they were her own. She would always go to their bedrooms and talk to them. She picked them up for ball practice, brought them home, took them to church…anywhere they needed to go.”
Debbie Murray had a similar experience with Becky, saying Becky pursued her “to show me love.”
“She just kept on. Somehow, we eventually traded numbers, and we chatted, texted or called,” Debbie said.
Debbie had been in an abusive relationship and Becky was there for her to help her learn to trust people again.
“Whatever I needed. Whenever I needed to talk,” Debbie said.
Debbie is now a sales associate at Southern Nest Realty, and while she was working on her real estate exam and making major changes in her life, it was Becky who encouraged her.
“She never stopped encouraging me and telling me, ‘Debbie, you’re supposed to do this. God wants you to; you gotta do this.’”
But Becky was known for her tough love, too, something that Jennie and Debbie have both experienced.
“Even if it was simple…‘You want me to be honest,’” Debbie said Becky would say. “She was always telling me to do what’s right.”
Jennie said Becky would be honest but also be loving about it.
“She sure did keep me on my toes and held me accountable for all my actions because she loved me,” Jennie said.
Becky “never met a stranger,” Jennie said, and would visit Jennie at Hardee’s, where Jennie is a manager, and would “talk to everyone as if she knew them their whole lives.”
Debbie met Becky at the Columbia Church of God, where Becky’s father, Rev. Gene Conover, is pastor. Becky started a Bible study group and Debbie started attending. The group didn’t last, but Becky, Debbie and Chelsea Wood remained close friends. The three of them spent time together, and just recently took a flower class together.
“The whole time she was telling us how much she loved us. How much we meant to her,” Debbie said.
Becky was on her way to pick up a youth member to take to church on Sunday morning when the accident occurred.
“She was always trying to get those kids in church,” Debbie said.
Everyone was happy for Becky and the love she found with Brian. They were married on May 3.
“Brian asked Jordan if he could marry his Mom,” Debbie said. “Brian’s whole family fell in love with Becky.”
“She was caring, helpful, selfless; she loved her son more than life. She loved her family and I knew she loved me,” Jennie said.
Last Thursday, Becky gave Jennie a cross with Proverbs 27:9 on it: “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”
A week before the wreck, she gave Debbie a cross with Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times…”
“Not a stranger came through the door that she didn’t try to ground them in some way to the love of Jesus,” Debbie said. “This is how we are all supposed to live! Love unconditionally. Forgive others. Not let a day pass without telling someone how much they mean to you.”
According to the accident report, Strange was operating a 2000 Toyota sedan on Knifley Road when she lost control due to rain on the roadway and skidded into the path of a 2016 Chevrolet pickup operated by Mark Willis of Columbia.
Adair County EMS began life saving measures and transported Strange to TJ Health Columbia ER where she succomed to her injuries.
Willis, and his four passengers, received treatment on scene by Adair County EMS and were transported for injuries recieved in the collision and later released.
Adair County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Adair County EMS, Columbia-Adair County Fire Department and Constable Jason Rector.
An obituary for Rebecca Conover Strange can be located on page 2 of this week’s issue.
For the latest local news and sports, check out the Adair County Community Voice. Call 270-384-9454 now.
By Sharon Burton