Sunday, October 26, 2014

#115) In Memoriam - Walter James Picker, 1929 - 2014

Today I received the following e-mail from Ann Picker, Walt's beloved wife:

Hi Carl,
A note to let you know that Walt died this morning. His passing was merciful in that he was very ill for over a year. I know you’ll let all the Libravet’s know.
I also want to thank you and all the Librascope people who supported Walt in the walk/run for Brain Cancer Research. That meant so much to our family. It was truly a living memorial.
Ann Picker

 Walter James Picker
Walter James Picker, 85, of Cambria, CA died on October 26, 2014.  Born in Baltimore, MD on Friday, March 13, 1929, he was the son of Walter Henry Picker and Loretta Delores (Hayden) Picker.  A child of the Great Depression, Walt vividly recalled his early childhood years when his father was unable to obtain steady employment.  These years had a profound and lasting impression on him with the result that he grew up valuing hard work, providing well for his own family, and holding a healthy respect for the worth of a dollar.  Despite the fragile family finances of his immediate family during the depression, Walt spent his childhood surrounded by a loving and caring extended family which included his Grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins who all lived in a three story row house on West North Avenue where communal meals were enjoyed by the entire family.

As a very young child, Walt discovered the joys of books found in the free public library a few blocks away from the Picker row house.  He would not always get the borrowed books home but would sit on the curb outside the library to devour each page.

Walt attended PS 62, Hamilton Junior High School, and graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in 1948.  After working at the Bendix Corp. for several years, he enrolled in Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA and graduated in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.  While at Drexel, Walt was active in student government serving as President of the Inter-Fraternity Council, President of the Men’s Student Government, and President of the Senior Class.  He was selected for Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities and Blue Key Honorary Fraternity.  Walt was a member of Sigma Pi Fraternity.

He served for two years in the US Army at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville Alabama developing ballistic missiles under Dr. Werner Von Braun.

After military service, Walt accepted a position with Singer Librascope in Glendale, CA.  During his lengthy career he held various positions with the company, retiring as President in 1992.

Post graduate education included a two year Executive Management course at UCLA, a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA), and a Doctor of Business Administration degree from the University of Southern California (1971).

After retirement, Walt was instrumental in organizing a committee in Cambria to prevent the development of the East-West (Fiscalini) Ranch.   He contributed his organizational skills, time, energy, and financial resources in order to preserve this beautiful four hundred acre site as open space for future generations to enjoy.

Walt was an avid reader and lifelong learner, belonging to several book and discussion groups.  He loved his Barnes and Noble gift cards, fine wine, art, genealogy (member of Sons of the American Revolution), visiting museums, classical music, UCLA sports, and basketball.  Possessing a quick and sometimes subtle wit, Walt took enormous delight in prevailing over family and friends, year after year, to win the March Madness basketball pool.

Immensely proud of his family, Walt loved them deeply and was extremely gratified that they rallied around him when he became ill.  He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Ann Marjorie (Stump) Picker, three children; Susan Ellen (Picker) Enriquez, James Kenneth Picker, Jane Elizabeth (Picker) Russell, five grandchildren; Brett James Enriquez, Hayden James Picker, Zachary Raul Picker, Faith Frances Cerussi, James Thomas Cerussi, and one great-grandson, Alexander Malcom Enriquez.

The family would like to thank all the caretakers who helped Walt during his long illness.  We also want to thank friends and family who supported Walt with numerous cards, phone calls, flowers, and visits.  And, a very special thank you to all the people who sponsored the participants in the “Race for Hope” runs honoring Walt and raising funds for brain cancer research.

A “Celebration of Life” will be held at a later date.

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