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Obituary, John K. Pickens, 60


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John K. Pickens

John Kenneth Pickens III, 60, died peacefully on April 11, 2015 in hospice care in Sterling, Va. Death resulted from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The Alexandria, Va. native lived in Petersburg, Alaska, but had returned to the Washington D.C. area last year for medical treatment.

He was born in DC and grew up in Alexandria. He graduated from T.C. Williams High School in 1972 and Virginia Tech in 1977. John worked for Beiro Construction in Alexandria from 1978 to 1990 and for the U.S. Forest Service in Petersburg from 1990 until his recent retirement.

John will be remembered by his many friends and loved ones for his deep affection and kindness, his community service, his keen wit and his wonderful sense of humor. John's funny, sometimes bawdy, stories and sayings will live on among those who loved him.

John was skilled in construction, mechanics, explosives, electronics and other fields. John was a talented musician who played a mean banjo. He was well-read with extensive knowledge and interest in history, politics, music and the natural world. He was a fly-fisherman, boater and outdoors man with a deep love and respect for the environment. John was often accompanied by his beloved dog, Lucy.

John spent much of his career with the U.S. Forest Service, working on fish passes for salmon streams in the Petersburg area and throughout the Tongass National Forest including the construction of passes at Duncan Canal and Portage Bay. He was often like a big brother or a father to young Forest Service volunteers and others whom he helped introduce to the beauty of Southeast Alaska. Some friends eventually called on him to officiate their weddings.

At home, John was always busy with projects and friends. He made improvements to his sailboat, the Murrelet. He converted his truck to biodiesel. He remodeled his home and helped his friends build and remodel theirs. John was always willing to help those in need and contributed to many causes. He volunteered for several organizations including Petersburg's Search and Rescue squad, which he helped lead for many years. John devoted many selfless hours training Search and Rescue volunteers to be ready to deploy at a moments notice to find a lost child or hiker.

He is survived by his wife, Candace Townsend Pickens, of Petersburg and recently the Washington area, and his stepdaughter, step-granddaughter, two half-sisters, four cousins, two godchildren, and many devoted friends.

His parents were the late Maxine Satterfield Pickens and John K. Pickens Jr.

A celebration of John's life is planned June 19 at Sandy Beach Park in Petersburg.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Petersburg Search and Rescue, PO Box 75, Petersburg 99833.


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