A celebration of the life of Paul Frederick “Pops” Bickford will be 2:12 pm Thursday, April 18, 2013, at First Baptist Church. Family and close friends will know the service time is reflective of how Paul often enjoyed arriving just a few minutes behind schedule—twelve minutes seem appropriate since that number was the one he often chose. Paul will be laid to rest at Ross Mayes Cemetery in Salina, OK following the service. Rice Funeral Service has been entrusted with arrangements. Visitation will be at the funeral home from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on Wednesday with family receiving friends from 5-7 that evening. Paul passed away on Friday from injuries he sustained in a tragic auto accident. He was 59.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sept. 11, 1953 to James Henry and Susan Rodriguez Bickford, Paul was reared and educated in Chicago. He completed his high school years at Craig High School in Jamesville, Wisconsin. His first college years were spent as a student at the prestigious Marquette University in Milwaukee, and he completed his college endeavors at the University of Tulsa where he received a B.S. in Engineering Physics with a minor in Electrical Engineering. Always intellectual, Paul continued to pursue graduate course work in Electrical Engineering and Business Administration. Paul has been registered as a Professional Engineer in the State of Oklahoma and has held a number of certifications in the technology arena as well as helping develop multiple IEEE industrial standards and specialized studies at Oakridge National Laboratories. His education as well as his many personal giftings and a dedication to hard work resulted in a successful career with Emerson Process Management for many years. With Public Service Company of Oklahoma for several years, he engineered electrical distribution services, fault-relay protection and power generation control systems. He also supervised the electrical and control systems departments at the Oologah Gas and Coal Fired Plant. As an accomplished businessman, Paul received numerous honors, many which were awarded because of a 7:30 a.m. alarm that said “Live an Honest Day”—a life resolve that Paul carried into all of his life efforts.
Paul’s family roots are deep in the rocks of Rogers County in northeast Oklahoma. His marriage to his helpmate of 35 years was a beautiful success.
He and Pamela Huddleston-Bickford were like-minded and both of Cherokee heritage. Recently he chose to leave his work position, making a bold move to a new career that also allowed him to support his wife’s career. Her company, Cherokee Data Solutions was now ably managed by both Bickfords.
Paul was also zealous about giving support and civic leadership to his beloved community. Paul spent countless hours working on the Annual Grid Iron Production. He was also a member of the noon Rotary Club and served the club as a director. He proudly volunteered his leadership in the Boy Scouts, a BSA Scoutmaster and committee Chair—earning his Woodbadge Certificate. He served as a youth sports coach and director, President of the Claremore High School Baseball Dugout Club, political party caucus representative as well as various appointments to municipal boards, Oologah Town Council, technology advisory committee member for Claremore Schools and RSU Public Media, lead judge for VEX robotics competitions and many other positions which furthered his community and its citizens. As reflected in the family business, he actively contributed to business development and Indian Affairs. He was founding president of the Oklahoma Professional Chapter of the American Indians in Science and Engineering Society, National Governance Committee for AISES, NAISEF judge and the Rogers County Cherokee Association. He also did missions work with the Western Indian Ministries (Navajo Nation), Iglesia Bautista Emanuel in Cancun, Mexico. He served as past state president of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma.
Although Paul was known as a success in the business world, there was another side—a quieter side, a generosity—and many lives were made richer for that side of Paul Bickford. It was his commitment to do for others less fortunate. In fact the day of his accident he had taken the time to check on a friend that had lost her son, a quality that demonstrates a heart of compassion for others. Another one of Paul’s favorite quotes was “Character Made Me Do It Better”—a personal motto he lived by.
Love of family was an ever present part of Paul’s everyday life. His grandchildren were a treasured priority. Multi-tasking was often necessary but completely worth it to this proud Pops– mowing, talking on the phone or cleaning up around the house could be achieved while holding a grandchild either in his arms or comfortably tucked in a backpack.
Love of his family went deep in Paul’s soul and he leaves his legacy with each one. Those who survive are his wife, Pamela of their home in Claremore; children, Captain Paul Matthew Bickford and wife Bethany of Abilene, Texas, Chrystal Antao and husband Barry of Owasso and Benjamin Ross Bickford and wife Jennie of Claremore; grandchildren, Sasha Lynn, Brookelynn Belle, Isabelle Faith Marie, Virginia Laine, Natalya Rose, Paul Ross, Josephine Rose and Savannah Belle Marie; sister, Pamela Burr and husband William, brother; Scott Bickford and his nieces and nephews, Jamie and wife Rebecca, Jesse, Juliet and husband B.J., James Paul and wife Kelly, Benjamin Eric, Susan Ashley and husband Travis, Dana and husband Mike, Dennis, Rachel, Katelyn and Staff Sergeant Daniel and wife Jessica. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Edward Bickford and Jimmy Marlor.