Joseph Simmons Pickard

Good morning everyone and thank you for being here to celebrate the life our Dad, Joe Pickard. My name is Scott Pickard and I am the third of Betty and Joe’s four children: Carolyn of Grand Junction; Larry of Houston, TX; Scott of Champaign, IL; and Kay of Denver, CO. Joseph Pickard passed away just a few days before Thanksgiving, that wonderful holiday when we celebrate the many blessings we all share in America. In that lingering spirit of Thanksgiving, and now with the Christmas season ahead, our family wishes to say “thank you” to our Dad’s many friends, supporters, and caregivers that have made his life (and our Mom’s) so happy and peaceful since they moved here eight years ago.

We know there are many members of the First Presbyterian Church here today. Our family would like to thank you all for the friendship and fellowship you have given to our dad since he first became a member of this fine church. Joe Pickard was a man of softly-spoken yet unwavering faith which was the bedrock and compass guiding him through a resilient, successful, and joyful life. He loved this church and its congregation. Thank you, First Presbyterian members. And we must say a very special thank you to Pastor Tom Hansen for all that he has done to bring our family together during the passing of our mom, Betty Pickard, three years ago, and now our dad, Joe Pickard. Tom’s wise words and positive spirit have given our family comfort and peace during these times. Thank you very much, Pastor Tom.

And we need to thank everybody in our family who have traveled far to celebrate the life of Joseph Simmons Pickard: our dad, father-in-law, granddad, great granddad, and the leader and main event at all of our family reunions. The “Pickard Family Tree” that flows from Betty and Joe Pickard now numbers 37, soon to be 38 when a baby granddaughter will be born in February to Ryan and Caitlin Pickard of Houston, Texas. Our family has been reunioning someplace in the United States every other summer for the last 20 years. Just this last summer we were all together in Grand Junction at the Wine Country Inn. We had a great time and Dad had a great time with his 19 grand and great-grandchildren all around him. So a big Thank You to this wonderful family.

We know that there are many residents and staff members from the Atrium here today to pay their respects to Joe Pickard. The Atrium has been home to our parents since 2008. We want to thank the residents and staff for your friendship toward our parents, and Joe in these last three years since mom passed away. We want to thank the staff at the Atrium for their kind and caring services, day-in and day-out, which made it a comfortable and peaceful home for Dad. And as you all know, Joe never missed a meal, so that must say something! Thank you to all the residents and staff at the Atrium.

In particular, though, we need to thank Joe’s close friends – Marilyn, Richard, and Jim — who sat together every day to share breakfast, lunch, and dinner at what they called the “Happy Table”. You helped Dad get through a very sad time after our mom passed away. He so enjoyed your friendship and good humor each and every day. A heartfelt thank you to the Happy Table crew.

We know there are many family and friends here that have played golf with Joe Pickard at one time or another. We want to say thank you to his golfing buddies for all of the good times and fellowship you shared with him on and off the golf course. If you were lucky enough to play golf with Joe, you had to call all your penalties and make all of your putts, even if the ball was 1 inch from the hole! He was an exceptional golfer and it was, second to being with mom, his greatest passion and the most fun thing for him to do. At our family reunion here in July, he hit the ceremonial opening tee shot on the first hole and of course, he hit the ball right down the middle of the fairway. To my knowledge, that was — at age 99 — his last golf shot. In particular, we want to thank Josh Holmes for encouraging our Dad to enter the 2014 Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, UT, at age 97. And it is no surprise that he won a gold medal! Thank you Josh, and thank you golfing buddies for being such good friends to Joe Pickard.

There is a special couple here today that I think we all know: Carolyn and Dave Brown. Our family needs to thank Carolyn, our sister, and her husband Dave, for everything they have done for Betty and Joe Pickard, mom and dad, since they moved to Grand Junction in 2008. Carolyn and Dave watched over and cared for Joe and Betty and were best friends to them including day trips up to the Monument, or the Mesa, or the Book Cliffs; sharing meals at Grand Junction restaurants; libations at 5:00 pm at the Atrium or Snow Mesa Road; golf on Friday mornings; and cheering on the Broncos on football Sundays. They have simply been there for Mom and Dad every step of the way until dad’s final days. Thank you, Carolyn and Dave, for being the local “guardian angels” to our parents and doing everything you could to make their Grand Junction period secure, peaceful, and happy.

And finally, we have one last very big thank you to our mom and dad, Joe and Betty Pickard, for their gift to us of immeasurable value, which is the example of the very life they lived: two people who loved each other for 73 years as husband and wife, always together, never apart, building their story year by year of honest hard work, faithfulness, the joys of family, and ultimately the relaxed peacefulness of retirement. They have been like two stars in the sky always showing us the way, guiding us, inspiring us, teaching us, and comforting us. Mom and Dad, Betty and Joe, we love you, we thank you, and now, may you both rest in peace together.

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Joseph Pickard Obituary

Joseph Pickard
April 25, 1917 – November 20, 2016

joe-pickard

Joseph Simmons Pickard passed away November 20, 2016, at the Larchwoods Inn in Grand Junction, CO. He died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes. A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Grand Junction on December 3, 2016, 11:00 a.m.

Joe Pickard was born to Joseph, Sr. and Lucille Pickard in Dallas, TX on April 25, 1917. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas. He married Betty Jo Fair on February 16, 1940, in Dallas, and they shared a wonderful life and marriage for 73 years until she passed at age 93 in 2013, Grand Junction.

Joe had a very successful 37-year career in sales with Revere Copper and Brass, Inc., that moved him around the country from Dallas to Houston, Chicago, and Rome, NY. When he retired at age 65, he was the National Sales Manager for Revere, responsible for sales management of the nine-state Midwest Region.

Joe used his passion for golf as a way to build relationships with clients and in so doing, he developed into a very accomplished “scratch” golfer. In his golf life which lasted until age 98, he recorded four hole-in-ones; shot his age at 73 and then every year thereafter until he turned 97; and also at age 97, he won a gold medal in golf at the 2014 Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, UT.

As any family member or friend would tell you, Joe was good at anything he set his mind to: golf, tennis, ping pong, billiards, croquet, fly fishing, sailing, cribbage, woodworking, repairs, poetry, and more. As gentle and friendly and kind a man as he was, when he got in the game he was a competitor and more often than not he beat you!

But Joe’s truest love was his wife, Betty, and their family. Together they loved and served their church and community wherever they lived and actively participated and volunteered wherever help was needed. They both enjoyed good health and stayed active at bridge, golf, tennis, hiking, and cross-country skiing. They traveled extensively and attended 21 Elderhostels. For several years Joe volunteered as the Assistant State Coordinator for AARP’s “55 Alive” senior driver training program.

Joe is survived by his daughters, Carolyn Brown of Grand Junction, and Kay Hourigan of Denver; sons, Laurens Pickard of Houston, TX, and Scott Pickard of Champaign, IL; nine grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to First Presbyterian Church in Grand Junction.

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Published in The Daily Sentinel on Nov. 27, 2016

A Values Manifesto for the American Worker

Philosophy Values (Principles) I never complain about what I don’t have, but appreciate what I do have. sp There are three things people consistently wish on their death bed: •     I wish I had not worked so hard •     I wish I had stayed in touch with my family and friends •     I wish I had let myself be happier Here I stand; I can do no other. Luther Can nice guys finish first?  How visible are values among management and employees? in general: pro/con: smart spaces & trigger warnings | civility: Golden Rule | Public Service Announcements (PSAs): VALUES.com | corporate responsibility: Hilton | humility: Actions speak louder than words. | kindness: www.behospitable.com, hellohumankindness, suspended coffee | persuasion: nudge technology | money: money priming | fairness | Tragedy of the Commons: about books, poems, articles, reports: kids can make a difference: Hoot Hiassen > Families | essay: Life Without Principle Thoreau | justice: Go Set a Watchman Lee | beliefs: This I Believe Allison | civility: Choosing Civility Forni | cooperation over self-interest: The Penguin and the Leviathan Benkler | evolution: The Cooperation Instinct Ohlson | humility and strength: If Kipling | life: The Prophet Gibran | resilience: Bend, Not Break Fu

by Scott Pickard

The American Worker is the true and authentic engine of the U.S. economy: hard working, innovative, unafraid of risk, productive, efficient, can-do, get the job done. We go to work every day to build, repair, maintain, clean, deliver, teach, inspire, heal, protect, invent, design, create, entertain, serve, manufacture, and on and on. We are the ones who actually get things done.

And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015), the 133 million American Independent Workers (non-union, “employed at will”) make up almost 90% of the U.S. workforce. But unlike our fellow union workers, American Workers are not bound together by an organizational structure with rules and dues; but rather, the resilience and power and spirit of the American Worker is guided and motivated by a set of values that we have shared for as long as there have been workers.

You might call it, A Values Manifesto for the American Worker.

We are loyal to our employers and owners

Every non-government job can be traced back to one person (entrepreneur) who had the guts and confidence to take the personal risk required to start and grow a business that created jobs. Therefore, we believe owners make the rules of their work domain because they take the personal risk and shoulder the responsibility to make our payroll every month. There is nothing stopping us from becoming owners ourselves and building our own organizations, culture, and values as we each see fit. It’s a free country, as we have always believed, so we each have the self-determination to decide and act as we choose.

We have always been willing to sacrifice and go with less for the company we work for if tough times demanded it. We generally do not file grievances or lawsuits. We work out issues with our employers face-to-face. We have always been loyal to our employers, unless of course, that loyalty is not reciprocated. We can always choose to walk out the door to a new and potentially better opportunity.

We are ready to do what needs to be done

Like most people, we do just about any task at home to take care of our families. We are prepared to do the same at work because it is, we think, the natural instinct of people to pitch in with a team, solve problems, and get things done wherever we find a need or whenever we are asked to help.

We believe arbitrary quotas and constraints that limit productivity go against the grain of the basic human impulse to continuously improve, go faster, work harder, produce more, and increase quality. We simply do as much as we can as efficiently as we can each workday while maintaining standards of quality.

We do not accept payment to not work. We generally do not need or collect unemployment. We reemploy ourselves almost immediately if we lose a job because our strong survival instincts drive us to always be prepared for adversity.

We accept the responsibility to survive on our own

We believe that in the working world, it is up to each worker to take full responsibility for their continuity of employment and to take care of their families. We believe that once a worker accepts that responsibility, they will take the actions to survive each and every day instead of waiting for someone else to take care of them. We believe that to enjoy the benefits of a free marketplace, each American Worker must own this responsibility.

Leaders (especially presidents) who politicize so-called workers’ rights and entitlements do a tremendous disservice to society by continuously promising what the nation does not have the cash to pay for without creating more debt. That kind of thinking and rhetoric is fueling a slow-burning bankruptcy in our cities, states, and nation.

We believe that we come into this world with no absolute entitlements except for what our parents can provide for us until we are capable of providing for ourselves the quality of life, safety, and happiness that we all seek and that we each earn with our own hands, minds, and hearts.

American Workers are survivors and take nothing for granted.

We care for those less fortunate than us

We believe that survival of the fittest does not mean that those less fit are left to struggle. We believe that if each community cares for their own family, friends, neighbors and citizens that are less fortunate, then we’ll all be okay.

We believe that we should all pitch in to support those that need some extra help as long as everyone else helps out in proportion to their means. We know that to maintain the continuity of work, a person must stay healthy, but some of us face adverse health issues and emergencies and disasters that come suddenly with no warning over which we have no control. The American Worker will be there to help. We make contributions to help the poor, chronically sick, disabled, and victimized. We do what we can to share and help out others that need our help, knowing they will do the same for us when the time comes.

However, we do believe that good health is enhanced by our attitudes and effort and determination to keep ourselves healthy. We don’t want to be sick, so generally we don’t get sick, and we don’t take sick days. When you hire the American Worker, you get 100% uptime. We live life to be healthy, to work hard and to play hard.

We always spend less than we earn

Wherever we are in our work journey and the pay we receive, we live within our means. How can an American Worker financially sustain themselves and their families any other way?

We pay all our bills. We pay our proportionate fair share of income taxes.

We generally do not file for personal bankruptcy because we do everything in our power to prevent it. We believe in resilience. We accept that the randomness of life and the axe of accountability will eventually strike us all, and when it does, we take our medicine and deal with it. We don’t believe democratic societies can or should bail out every person or organization no matter how too big to fail they are. We are skeptical of too big to fail bailouts when the loudest voices are coming from those that stand to lose the most wealth in their portfolios.  The American Worker believes in one set of rules for all, both the haves and the have-nots.

We don’t expect anything free from anybody. We want to earn what we can based on our individual ability to earn; otherwise, it has no value to us.

We know what we are worth and we speak for ourselves

We do not require third-party organizations to establish our fair market value as workers. We rely on the marketplace to be a very efficient (if not brutal) system for establishing fair market value of the American Worker. Our leverage is our experience, skill, value, and the freedom of self-determination (i.e., you can take this job and shove it.)

We do not pay money to another person to sit at the negotiation table with our employers on our behalf. We are individually responsible for that task, and we save the money to invest directly in our professional and personal development.

The American Workers’ market value over the years has been, plus or minus, fair. It has never been propped up or guaranteed by a contract, lockout, walk out, picket line, strike, sickout, blue flu, quota, restriction, injunction, entitlement, you name it. We give our employer the benefit of the doubt that our pay is what our employers can reasonably afford for the business to be financially sustainable for the long term.It’s a free country, as we have always said, so if we cannot work out a mutually-acceptable level of pay, we can always go elsewhere or start a business of our own.

We always land on our feet

We don’t assume that any job can last forever. The world is global, competitive, and volatile, and we deal with that reality by preparing ourselves and always having a backup plan. We almost always remain employed but when we do lose a job, we are prepared to drop back a rung or two on the ladder (if need be) to rebuild ourselves with more experience and education/training, most of it low-cost to free in today’s online lifetime-learning world. When it comes to providing for and protecting our families, we never rest and we never give up.

We believe “chance favors the prepared mind,” and it also favors the prepared American Worker who is relentless about lifetime learning so that she or he is always employable at any age.

We make no excuses for adversity that inevitably will come our way. We go to the library, get online, and for free we learn and train to qualify for all kinds of good jobs on this planet. We don’t wait for an organization to train us and find us another job. We go get it on our own. We make getting a job a full-time job. Our attitude is to wake up at dawn and not come home until we find a job. That’s not to say that getting a job is sometimes hard, but we wake up each day with that attitude, day after day, for as long as it takes to get that next job.

We respect Organized American Labor and are appreciative of their contributions

We respect and appreciate what union workers have done for our country and the good job that they continue to do today. We believe it is critical in this world for independent and union workers to stand side-by-side to get things done.

But the fact is, American Independent Workers comprise 90% of the U.S. workforce. We are the independent, self-sufficient, lean and mean American Workers driven by several key principles:

  • Subsidiarity: We believe in the Principle of Subsidiarity which says that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest, and least centralized competent authority.
  • Trustworthiness: We are skeptical of the trustworthiness of all things BIG: Government, Corporate Business; Nonprofit Organizations, even Religions. Fundamentally, we believe that wherever wealth and power are concentrated, it inevitably becomes the breeding ground for unethical opportunistic behavior, greed, cronyism, corruption, and fraud. History driven by human behavior predictably repeats itself in this regard.
  • Self-Determination: While adhering to the Rule of Law, we never hand over our individual self-determination to any person or organization if we don’t have to.

The American Worker is the Economy

The American Worker is the true engine of OUR ECONOMY which is not a politician’s or a government’s or a corporation’s or a party’s economy. It has always been and will always be, OUR ECONOMY, and the politicians are hired by and report to the American Worker. No one person (or President) has all the answers and the power and the money and the time to unilaterally lift our country’s economy up and forward in the face of increasing global competition.

Only each individual American Worker can make an impact starting at 8:00 am tomorrow morning, magnified by the strength and power and resilience of values shared among 133 million American Workers. We need not wait another 4-8 years for the federal government to come to the rescue. We, the American Workers, know what to do and together we can change the world for the better, right now.

Nose to the grindstone, let’s go get it done, just as we always have.

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Faith


A Star on the Boulevard

a star on the boulevard

by scott pickard

About 13 years ago (2002) I did something that I had never done before and have not done since, which is to take a full two weeks of vacation at the end of the year. It was ause it or lose it situation for me and I wasn’t about to waste those precious vacation days. The first week of this vacation my wife was still teaching and my kids were still in school and not yet out for holiday break, so I was home alone. I asked myself, what should I do? The Bible says idle hands are the devil’s workshop, so while I wasn’t about to do anything devilish, I was determined to have some fun!

We didn’t have HBO back in that day but my young-adult son (just graduated from college) had become a fan of the Sopranos so he sent me a box set that had several DVDs covering the entire first season. On my first day of vacation right after my wife and kids had left for school I settled in with the first DVD and as you might expect I didn’t come up for air until I heard my wife driving up the driveway coming home from school. When she walked in the door I said, “I’ve done something very bad,” and informed her that I hadn’t gotten off the couch since she left that morning. Now that’s not the worst thing in the world but for me it was extremely slug-like and I don’t think I’ve ever done that since. But of course binge-watching TV episodes is now the new normal so I guess I was ahead of my time.

To atone for my extreme laziness I decided I’d do something constructive the next day and I thought maybe I would get started on the outdoor Christmas lights. But then a thought popped into my head and I don’t know where this came from, but as I looked up at our big pine tree at the southeast corner of our house I thought maybe I’d put a star on top of that tree. It was to be a big surprise for my wife and kids that evening.

I had climbed on buildings and train bridges and up tall trees since I was five years old, and then as I got older I advanced to municipal water towers, so I had no problem with heights. I just thought I’d start climbing the tree and if I ran into a problem such as an irritated squirrel, I’d abandon the idea. No big deal.

So I made the rounds of the big-box stores and found my first star at Lowe’s. I came home, laid out 200 feet of electrical extension cord, and set up a ladder so I could make it up to the first branch about 20 feet off the ground. I fashioned a harness so that I could carry the star around my neck and attached the electrical cord to my belt so I could pull it up with me as I climbed the tree.

It was a very cold day and a little snowy as I started to climb the tree, branch by branch, very slowly and carefully, until I got as high as I could go, swaying in the breeze and afraid I might snap the top of the tree trunk. I secured the star to the trunk of the tree, plugged in the extension cord and slowly descended. I got down safely and ran the extension cord around the house and plugged it into an outlet in the garage. I walked around the house and looked up and saw the star glowing. It worked!

I unplugged the star and waited until my wife and kids came home and then when it got dark I asked them to come outside so I could do the big reveal. They were flabbergasted! My wife looked at me and said, “How did you get that up there?” I said nothing but just looked at her and then she looked at me and said, “You climbed that tree, didn’t you?” I nodded and smiled and I have been smiling about that ever since.

So for 13 years people have been asking me how I got that star up there. They all seemed to think I rented a cherry picker (boom lift). I would just say, “Oh, it’s a really easy tree to climb….. lots of limbs.” But most of them were skeptical that I actually climbed up the tree. The most recent skeptic asked, “Did you use a drone?” Nope, no drones in my air space, just me and the squirrels.

I decided to keep the star on until January 6 (epiphany) which is when we would typically take down our Christmas tree. But I didn’t climb back up the tree to take the star down. I left it up there with the cord running down the trunk and then I tied it off to a limb about 20 feet in the air, ready to be plugged in the next year. But it didn’t quite work out that way. You see, squirrels will chew on anything from a gutter to a garbage can to an electrical cord to a star. So about every 3-4 years I’ve had to climb back up there and replace a squirrel-mangled star with a new star. But each time I got a better, bigger, brighter star!

The holiday star has become an iconic feature of our neighborhood for all these years and gives me a great source of pleasure. Every year our neighbors look forward to seeing the star go on the first weekend after Thanksgiving and they are sad to see it go off on January 6.

I appreciate this is a very small accomplishment in the big scheme of things. I didn’t scale K2 or bring peace to the Middle East. But it is these simple traditions that make life so pleasurable and meaningful in a neighborhood such as we have on the Boulevard. We’ve been in our house for 33 years and plan on being here 33 more. I don’t know how long I will keep climbing up that tree for the inevitable star replacement. My kids remind me that I shouldn’t be doing this anymore. But how could I not?

This simple story has no best-practice takeaways for the busy linkedin professional, except to say I hope you can follow your star this holiday season while enjoying the fellowship and love of your family and friends.

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Things you affirm on your deathbed

  • All you have left are memories of your life experiences
  • Loving your family is the most important thing in life
  • Worry is worthless
  • Taking risk is how you grow human knowledge
  • Balance is a universal force and the ultimate truth

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