John Walker Pickens

December 14, 1936 ~ January 19, 2014

John passed away peacefully at age 77 at Cashmere Convalescent Center, where he had been a resident and patient of their caring staff since September, 2010. He survived 23 years to the day after an acute brain aneurysm rupture in 1991, which never negated his fiercely proud and independent spirit.

John grew up as an only child in the ranch house located on the apple and pear orchard that he later inherited and operated. His father, Walker Everett Pickens, once known in the area as the "dean of skiers," and instrumental in acquiring the land for the Squilchuck Ski Area and Walker Pickens Lodge, died of a sudden heart attack when John was 16. As a youth, Dad enjoyed skiing, baseball and ice skating. He also earned an Eagle Scout Badge. He graduated from Wenatchee High School in 1954. Dad frequently boasted about his three years of Latin language study at WHS. He was both well-spoken and long-spoken, so that extended language study was evident in any conversation with him.

John completed all of his college education at the University of Washington. He graduated with a B.A. in Economics in June of 1958. He earned a second B.A. in Business-Finance from the College of Business Administration in June of 1960. While at the UW, he was a very active member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house, holding many leadership positions. He also enjoyed attending UW sporting events, both as an enthusiastic student booster and alum.

Directly after college, he worked for three years as a Dealer Service Representative for the Washington State Apple Commission working throughout 24 states. After, he worked in national fruit sales with Pacific Gamble Robinson Corporation, in Yakima, WA. From 1965 to 1983, he both owned and leased orchards including apples, pears, cherries, apricots and peaches. Subsequent to farming, he founded Isosceles Water and Land Research Services, where he transferred his intimate knowledge of the Wenatchee Valley into consultant work specializing commercial real estate appraisal, water rights, general development rights, zoning, boundary and easement issues. At his desk job, Dad couldn't be bothered with the modern age of technology. He frequently ran shop fully comfortable plucking away on his old-fashioned typewriter. He was passionate and stubborn with respect to not only his approach to his work, but also to his ways, and for that we can only admire him more for his unique disposition.

John simply loved living in East Wenatchee. He delighted in stopping to talk to anyone from any walk of life, in any setting, and for any length of time. He typically spoke about his extensive knowledge of the Wenatchee Valley, or his vast memories of all the people that he knew - and he new many! Although he lived with dementia for many years, his long-term memory remained nothing short of astonishing until the end. He sure was a man about town prior to moving to Cashmere - albeit on foot in his later years. God bless him.

John is survived by his daughters, Victoria Maria Pickens of Wenatchee, WA, and Katrina Elizabeth Pickens and two grandchildren, Sally Janelle Holloman, and Alphonso John Holloman of Seattle, WA. He remained friends with his former wife, Mary Oestreich Pickens, currently residing in Cashmere, WA. John and Mary married in July of 1965, and divorced in 1983. He was preceded in death by his parents, Walker Everett Pickens and Francis Eagan Pickens.

A Memorial Mass will be held at Cashmere Convalescent Center, 817 Pioneer Avenue, Cashmere, WA, on Saturday, February 22, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. Dad enjoyed Mass right at CCC every Friday the past few years, so it makes sense to all involved that we hold the Mass there. The family appreciates the tremendous generosity and support from the entire staff at CCC, as well as Father Alex Trejo and Mandy Sand Bush. Anyone is welcome to attend the Mass and/or the gathering at Milepost 111 Brewing Co., 407 Aplets Way, in Cashmere, immediately following.

Memorial donations can be made to: Catholic Charities, 640 S. Mission Street, Wenatchee, WA, 98801 or online at

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