John Bennett Pickens passed away on January 3, 2021, due to complications from COVID-19. John was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on February 10, 1947, to Lois Bennett Pickens Rogers and Melvin E. Pickens. He graduated from John Marshall High School in 1965. Following his senior year of high school, he spent the summer in American Samoa where his mother was teaching on educational TV. John attended the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism. He formed several lifelong friendships as a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at OU.
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John began a career in advertising at The Journal Record and then The Oklahoman. He later worked at Oklahoma Home and Garden Magazine and K-LITE 102 Radio Station. He returned to The Oklahoman as an Account Executive in the Classified Advertising Department. During his career John won several top sales awards, including Sales-person of the Year in 1998. After his retirement in 2008, John and his partner, John Skinner, moved to the Austin, Texas area, and later returned to Oklahoma.
John had many talents and hobbies including painting, calligraphy, photography and model railroads. In fact, his mark can be seen throughout the Mesta Park area near downtown Oklahoma City as the Mesta Park sign posts display his logo design for the historic neighborhood.
John cared about the communities that he lived in, serving as a board member for several homeowner's associations.
John had a wealth of knowledge on many different topics and could give a detailed answer to almost any question. He was a great conversationalist and did not shy away from deep conversations - politics, religion, social injustices - nothing was off limits. He loved big and was immensely proud of his two daughters. From the best hugs to the perfect words in a greeting card, he made sure to express his love to the people he cared about and would often get teary-eyed at the end of a visit or phone call.
John is preceded in death by his son, John Gavin Pickens; mother, Lois; father, Melvin; and step-father, Jess. He is survived by his partner, John Skinner; two daughters, Jennifer Wright and husband Alex, and Katie Kite and husband Bandel; and grandchildren, Alayna Barnes, Gavin Barnes, Sutton Szucs, Jackson Wright and Mitchell Wright.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Alzheimer's Association of Oklahoma. There are no services planned at this time due to COVID-19.