He was born on December 6, 1927 in LaCenter, WA to Harold and Ada Pickens.
His parents later divorced and John lived with his father.
John chose to remain by himself in Heppner, OR at age 16, where he graduated from high school in 1945.
He met the love of his life, Clara Sue Ledbetter, during his time in Heppner.
John was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1946 and went to Germany with the occupation troops.
He and Clara married on June 12, 1950 in Heppner and moved to Seattle, WA, where John was stationed.
Their only child, Thomas, was born in January 1954.
John later transferred from the Army to the U.S. Air Force, where he served until retiring as a Senior Master Sergeant at Geiger Field, Spokane, WA, in 1968.
He then went to Eastern Washington University and completed his B.A.
degree in 1970.
John was hired by the Washington State Employment Security Department in 1970.
He subsequently worked for the Department of Personnel and as a DSHS Human Resource Manager.
John retired from the State of Washington in 1987.
John made the most crucial decision of his life by receiving Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord in 1976.
John was active in many areas of service in his local church.
He and Clara enjoyed family and friends during retirement.
They were avid golfers.
John and Clara spent 16 winters in Yuma, AZ to escape the Spokane winters.
John and Clara moved to Centralia, WA in 2003, after he developed Parkinson’s disease to live near their son and daughter-in-law, Tom and Sandy Pickens and granddaughter, Sarah.
John received loving care during the last few months of his life in Leah’s Adult Family Home.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years.
John was preceded in death by his parents, and sister, Geraldine Sherk.
A memorial service will be held on January 31, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at the Centralia Community Church of God, 3320 Borst Ave., Centralia, WA.
Memorial contributions may be made to the mission fund of the church.
Arrangements are under the care of STICKLIN FUNERAL CHAPEL, CENTRALIA.