A well-known figure in the White Hall community for many years, Steve Strahan passed away Saturday, Sept. 14.
He was known for his involvement with White Hall Bulldog athletics, where he was the public address announcer for the football and basketball teams, in addition to being very instrumental in helping the White Hall Bulldog baseball and softball teams. He also helped with the White Hall Booster Club and Jefferson County American Legion Baseball.
Strahan was known as a volunteer who often gave of his time as well as his money to help not only the White Hall athletic programs, but also people in the community.
White Hall School District Superintendent Doug Dorris spoke about all of the ways that Strahan was willing to help.
“”I’ve been knowing Steve for a long time,” Dorris said. “He was an outstanding father, husband, son, and was just an outstanding person. He dedicated a lot of hours to the White Hall School District. He always did our play by play things, and he would always volunteer to coach in our youth leagues for baseball and softball over the years. He coached a lot of tournament teams. He was the type of guy that you could call to say you need help at your house, and he would be right over to help you out. He sacrificed a lot of his time to help others. I never saw a time that Steve turned anybody down that needed help.”
Dorris said that Strahan was involved with White Hall athletics for as far back as he could remember.
“They have him starting out in 2001, but I think he started earlier than that,” Dorris said. “I can remember him doing ball games when I was coaching. Steve had been involved for at least right at 20 years.”
In addition to his roles with White Hall and Jefferson County athletics, Strahan was also a baseball umpire who was able to call league baseball, travel baseball, and high school baseball games.
Steven Powell, an assistant coach at White Hall, said Strahan was very instrumental in helping his business get off of the ground. Powell owns Play 2 Advance – a travel baseball organization.
“I’ve been knowing Steve since I got out of college and started coaching,” said Powell. “I met him in American Legion. I’ve been at White Hall for right at 10 years, and over these last 10 years I have really gotten to know him. I’ve umpired a lot of baseball with him. I called a state championship game with him at Baum Stadium. You just couldn’t ask for any better guy that Steve. It just hit me between the eyes when I got the news Saturday. Steve was just always there to help anybody who needed it, would do anything, and would never talk bad about anybody. He was just always there to help.”
Powell said that Strahan was known as the Voice of White Hall.
“They called Steve the Voice of White Hall, and he was the Voice of White Hall,” said Powell. “He called the football games, he called the basketball games, and he was at Dog Days. He would put you on the spot and wanted to know what your record was before you ever started playing. He knew stuff that bothered you and he would pick at you just to see what he could get out of you.”
Powell said that when you think White Hall baseball you will think of Steve Strahan.
“Steve Strahan will never be forgotten in the community of White Hall,” Powell said. “He loves the game or he wouldn’t have umpired for as long as he did. He loved the community, and he loved White Hall. He coached American Legion there forever, then when Coach (Shane) Harp came through, he turned the program over to him. He has always been in the middle of baseball. You will never walk onto the baseball field at White Hall and not think of Steve Strahan.”
Dion Smith was able to umpire many baseball games with Strahan, and he said that Strahan did more than just coach and umpire games. He helped to mentor a lot of young men through the years.
“Steve always gave back to our community,” Smith said. “As far back as I can remember he always had something to do with the kids out here. He has always been involved with mentoring young men.”
“There were people who needed things done to their house like roofing, and he would go and do it,” Smith said. “A lot of times he would do it, and they didn’t even know he did it. He was one of those guys who would just go out and do it. He would do that for anybody. He could never say no. He was always helping somebody out constantly.”
Smith said that Strahan trained him to be an umpire and worked with him for many years.
“Me and him called high school baseball together for probably 15 years as partners,” Smith said. “We went all of these places together all over the state of Arkansas together calling USSSA baseball and high school ball together. He was always involved in something like that all of the time. He was really the guy who got me into umpiring baseball. He came to me and said he thought it would be something I would be good at, and he trained me. He taught me how to umpire the game, and we were partners for probably 15 years doing games together.”
Smith said that Strahan will never be replaced in the White Hall community.
“He has been one of the best people for our community, and he is going to be really missed because of that,” Smith said. “You just can’t replace him. He is just one of those guys that nobody can do what he has done in the past. This is just a hard loss for us.”
The White Hall Booster Club will honor Steve Strahan at Thursday night’s game against Sheridan with a blackout in his honor. There will be a fireworks show during halftime while some of Strahan’s favorite songs are played over the public address speakers. Kickoff between White Hall and Sheridan is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Bulldog Stadium.
Funeral services will be 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019 at First Baptist Church of White Hall with Brother Paul Williams officiating. Interment will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery by Ralph Robinson and Son Funeral Directors.
Memorials may be made to the White Hall School District, Attn: Steve Strahan Memorial Athletic Scholarship, 1020 West Holland Avenue, White Hall, Arkansas 71602. Online register: www.ralphrobinsonandson.com .