I Know He Saw Jesus: Country Star’s Widow Finds Comfort in Husband’s Passing

The death of country singer Craig Strickland in December 2015 shocked the fans of his country-rock band Backroad Anthem. Strickland’s widow, however, takes comfort in her realization that her husband died thinking about God and in her knowledge he is safe in heaven. Strickland went missing during a duck hunting trip with a friend in Oklahoma when winter storm Goliath hit. Their boat capsized into Kaw Lake, plunging the two men into icy water in the middle of winter. The boat was found the day the two went missing, and the body of Strickland’s hunting buddy, Chris Morland, was found dead the very next day, with Strickland’s Labrador retriever standing guard over it.


Strickland’s body, however, wasn’t found for another week, after a search that involved four boats, a helicopter and trained search dogs, all focusing on an area in which paw prints and footprints had been found. When the searchers finally found Strickland’s body, it was lying on the ground spread out in the shape of a cross, with Strickland looking up toward heaven.


Helen Strickland, putting together the pieces of the accident, realized that somehow her husband had been able to pull himself out of the water despite fighting the hypothermia that would kill him. She believed he arranged his body in the shape of a cross to look up to God as he fell asleep and died, and she believes he saw Jesus in his last moments. Helen expressed gratitude to Strickland’s fans for their prayers, believing their prayers helped her husband achieve such a peaceful moment before he died. Faith carried Helen Strickland through what had to be the worst days of her life, and it has been key for so many others facing grief or loss. Read more stories about faith carrying ordinary people through tragedy.

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