John C. Pickens
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John C. Pickens
John C. Pickens, 86, of Windsor, beloved husband for 64 years of the late Ann (Sherman) Pickens, passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 9, 2020, in Avon. Born in Meadville, PA on March 31, 1933, son of the late Calvin Herbert and Doratha (Osborne) Pickens, John had been a Windsor resident for more than 60 years. John was raised in Northwest Pennsylvania and spent most of his childhood in Saegertown, graduating from Saegertown High School in 1951. He continued his education at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA where he met his wife Ann and they both graduated with the Class of 1954. John was then called to active duty in the US Air Force where he served for two years as an Intelligence Officer in the Air Defense Command. Following his active tour of duty, John entered the Fels Institute of Local and State Government of the Wharton Graduate School at the University of Pennsylvania. He was graduated with a Masters of Governmental Administration in 1957. As part of the degree requirements, John served a six-month internship with the Town Manager of Windsor who was also a Fels graduate. He completed several major projects for the Town Manager and the Town Council. After his graduation, he took a position with the Town of Windsor as the Executive Director of the Windsor Redevelopment Agency where he managed two projects in the Poquonock and Wilson neighborhoods which had been badly damaged by the floods of 1955. John's next task was the management of another flood disaster project in East Granby, CT which was successfully completed in 1961 and which is now known as Granbrook Park. John next joined the staff of the State of Connecticut Development Commission as an Urban Renewal Planner and helped manage the State's Redevelopment Assistance Programs which included Hartford's Constitution Plaza and New Haven's Long Wharf. In 1967, he participated in a public/private, state/local planning group and co-authored legislation that created the Connecticut Department of Community Affairs, the first such state government effort in the United States. This pioneering legislation, known as The Community Development Act, passed both houses of the Connecticut Legislature with only one dissenting vote and became a blueprint for such state assistance efforts throughout the nation. The legislation created multiple state financial assistance programs for municipalities and private non-profit agencies. One unique achievement was his service as the senior state government manager and staff coordinator for the state negotiating team which joined with local governments, private and non-profit teams in a negotiated investment strategy national demonstration project to devise new ways to allocate and manage Federal Block Grants to the states. These first time Block Grants replaced dozens of previously existing federal categorical grants and Connecticut's success had a major impact on the practices undertaken by other states. In 1994, after more than 23 years of State of Connecticut Government service, John retired and initiated his own planning and management consulting firm to serve Connecticut small towns and private and non-profit agencies. In 1999, he became Executive Director of Windsor Community Television Inc. (WIN-TV), a position he held until 2004. John was active in the community for more than sixty years. He was a member, then chairperson of the Windsor Interfaith Forum which drafted and secured Town Council approval of what is now the Windsor Human Relations Commission. He served as Chairperson of the Windsor Government Study Commission, appointed by the Town Council which studied the operations of the Town Council and Windsor School District resulting in a series of recommendations, most of which were adopted. John and his wife Ann were active members of the First Church in Windsor, UCC where they served as members of the Choir and John as chairperson of the Church Cabinet, Music Committee, and the Church Council. He also chaired the Church's 350th Anniversary Committee. In recent years, John enjoyed meeting his friends at the Men's Breakfast Group at Dom's Broad Street Eatery in Windsor Center and loved walking with his dog on Windsor's River Walk along the Farmington River. After his father passed away at a young age, John became the patriarch of his family, a position which he loved. He was regularly looked to by his children, brothers, nieces, nephews, and other family members for his advice and counsel. He leaves three children, Sherman Scott Pickens and his wife Jamie Solak of Watertown, MA, Pamela Jo Pickens Monroe and her husband James of Avon, and Stuart Clark Pickens and his wife Kimberly Blake of Longmont, CO; ten grandchildren, Koryn Pickens of Manchester, Kandyn Pickens of Virginia Beach, VA, Kylan Pickens and his wife Mandy Gaston of Greer, SC, Emma Mobley of Watertown, MA, Heather Anna Monroe of Avon, Hunter Sherman Monroe of Avon, Christopher Blake of Enfield, Kandis Blake of Windsor, Zachariah Blake of Windsor Locks, and Joshua Pickens of Longmont, CO; 12 great-grandchildren; two brothers, Charles Pickens and his wife Jean of Farmington and David Pickens and his wife Joye of Cochranton, PA; a sister-in-law, Jane Pickens of Meadville, PA; and many nieces and nephews. Besides his wife Ann, he was predeceased by a brother, Stephen Pickens. His family will receive friends on Friday, January 17, 5-7 p.m., at the First Church in Windsor, UCC, 107 Palisado Ave., Windsor. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 18, 11 a.m., at the First Church in Windsor, UCC. Burial will follow in Palisado Cemetery, Windsor. Memorial donations may be made to the First Church in Windsor, UCC, Attn: Church Choir, 107 Palisado Ave., Windsor, CT 06095. Carmon Windsor Funeral Home has care of the arrangements. For online condolences please visit, www.carmonfuneralhome.com.
Published on January 14, 2020