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“Yvonne” Patricia Strickland Elias passed away on September 17, 2021, at Vidant North Hospital in Roanoke Rapids, NC. 

She was predeceased by her parents Johnny and Gladys Strickland; her siblings John, Wayne, Doug, and James Strickland, Carolyn Twisdale, and Betty Jean Holland; nephews and nieces, Brenda, Casey, Tammy, Tonya, and Jamie Strickland, Troy and Stuart Twisdale. 

Survived by brother’s, Randolph and Frankie Strickland; Husband Grady Elias and Son Thomas “Toot” Joseph Elias; Nephews Tony, Michael, Paul, and Larry Strickland, Roy Twisdale, and Robert “Shakey Ray” Allen; Nieces Audrey Bryant, Angela Keeter; Grandchildren Taylor and Hayden Elias. 


Yvonne was born on April 12, 1945, in the Old Roanoke Rapids Hospital. She grew up in Weldon, NC. 

There were 8 siblings. Her siblings were talented with instruments and vocals. She participated in music at an early age. She was named “The Beauty Queen,” the rest is history.

 She attended Weldon Schools and graduated with honors in 1963. She also attended Halifax Community College earning a Business Degree while working as an accountant. 

Yvonne was always ambitious, with an entrepreneur spirit, she decided to open a Merle Norman Cosmetics on Roanoke Ave. Merle Norman was a very successful business, she owned and operated it for over twenty-seven years. 

Yvonne married Grady Elias on June 23, 1965. She and Grady welcomed their son Thomas Joseph Elias on October 16th, 1966. Grady and Yvonne had 56 years of a wonderful, sweet, and dedicated marriage. 

Yvonne’s life was always fulfilling, then came along her Sunshine, Taylor. 

Taylor Elias is Yvonne’s granddaughter. Taylor came into Yvonne and Grady’s life full time when she was two years old. Yvonne stepped in and took care of her, as a mother. 

Taylor just brightened her life. She always said, “God puts us where we are needed.” 

Then cancer struck. Yvonne’s strong faith in God, and many prayers pulled her through cancer. Several years later, it reappeared. Devout Christian, she prayed she would live for every day as she fought cancer again. 

She was treated biweekly at UNC Nash in Rocky Mount, NC. The treatment gave her more time. Time enough to see Taylor walk down the aisle as a graduate of Halifax Academy with Honors and Valedictorian of her class. What a night! Years of hard work and love. 

Taylor shared so much with Yvonne. Yvonne also had a wonderful grandson, Hayden Elias. Hayden plays baseball and loves gaming. Hayden will go fishing or hunting anytime, especially with Joseph. 

Yvonne loved people and helping them. She always looked after several of her nephews and nieces. 

The things she did for them, they would have to write a book. 

We’d like to take a moment to “Thank UNC and Dr. Manikkam.” 

She spoke of her team there, and how much they cared for her and their patients. Special people they are, she always felt uplifted when she had her treatments. 

She spoke very highly of Dr. Manikkam, who also supported her emotionally. Many uplifting prayers and services at Valley Community Church. Thank all of you and Pastor David Schmaltz. Yvonne had this special employee at Merle Norman Cosmetics that worked for her for over sixteen years. Yvonne spoke of her often. “It’s hard to find someone that cares about the business as much as you do,” Someone devoted, and you can trust. She loved Janice. No matter what Yvonne had to do, Janice was always there for her. 

Thank you for being there all those years, Janice Huller. 

Yvonne touched a lot of lives with laughter, a funny dance, prayer, or just her way of saying something to enlighten the moment. 

She will be missed by many. Her faith kept her strong. She had a wonderful husband Grady always by her side. 

She loved Thomas “Toot”, Hayden, and Taylor, who was and will always be the sunshine of her life. We pray for them. Always hold the memories and spread the love she gave all around. “Put on Red Lipstick, if you’re having a bad day” as Yvonne would always say. 

There will be a “Celebration of Life” on Oct.1st 2021, starting at 3:00PM at Valley Community Church.

Arrangements are handled by Hockaday Funeral & Cremation Service.