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After a three and half year battle with pancreatic cancer, Dr. Dennis Arthur Pickering, age 79, passed peacefully away at his home on November 18, 2023 with his loving wife Pat and friends close by his side.
Dorothy A. and Harley C. Pickering were the proud parents that welcomed their new son Dennis on January 24, 1944 in Piqua, Ohio. He was a middle child in between older sibling, Deanna and younger sibling K’Anna. In their younger years Dennis and his sisters were involved in dance lessons. The dance studio owner was a personal friend of the family which was another way for the parents to keep involved with their kids. His dad was a plumber owning his own plumbing business for over 50 years. He was devoted to teaching his young son Dennis about the plumbing business knowing about the tools and how to use them. His father took him on jobs with him throughout his growing up years. His devoted parents brought him up in the Piqua Baptist Church where he was baptized and there came in contact with a young man visiting to preach called Billy Graham who became the well-known Billy Graham we have heard of today. Dennis grew up in the Piqua Public Schools in Piqua, Ohio and formed his own dance band in the Seventh grade. Music was a passion. It was with this money Dennis earned that he was able to buy a beautiful tenor saxophone. It was in high school Dennis was a drum major. To further his drum major skills and his enjoyment of music he participated in summer camps and many competitions, concerts, and numerous bands, orchestra, and choir. It was his Sixth-grade teacher though that had the biggest effect on him considering teaching for a career. Dennis graduated from Piqua Central High School, Piqua, Ohio, in 1962.
The college years went fast for Dennis graduating in three years at The Ohio State University in August of 1965 with a Bachelor of Science in Education. It was there as a freshman he earned a place in The Ohio State Marching Band playing Alto Horn. However, in time, the band director there encouraged him to be a staff assistant in turn for his tuition being paid. Dennis’ job was to make sure all the props for a band show were ordered, there in good shape, and organized after. When he graduated, he accepted a Sixth-grade teaching position at Wickliffe Elementary in the Upper Arlington Public Schools in Upper Arlington, Ohio. Dennis worked on his Master’s degree while teaching and graduated in September, 1967 with a Master of Arts from The Ohio State University. It was in Dennis’ third year of teaching a student from The Ohio State University was placed in his classroom for student teaching if he agreed. That student in less than six months became Dennis Pickering’s wife.
On June 15, 1968 Dennis married his soul mate he had been looking for, Patrica (Pat) Adams. They were married in the North Broadway Methodist Church, Columbus, Ohio, where Dennis was a member of the church choir. Their sixth-grade class were all invited to the wedding and reception.
A move in Ohio happened that summer after Dennis and Pat were married and he took a position as Principal of Nicklin Avenue Elementary School in Piqua, Ohio. It was there that staff, parents, and the students were encouraged in having a centralized Library. It took tremendous organization and volunteer help from many to make it a reality for kids. It happened. While in Piqua, Dennis and Pat became members of the Greene Street United Methodist Church. On weekends in that three-year period of his Principalship Dennis started work on his doctorate and graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana with a Doctor in Education in 1972. He majored in Educational Administration with cognates in Elementary Education and Curriculum and Instruction. It was while Dennis worked on his doctorate, he was able to work with the Indiana School Study Council throughout the state.
With a doctoral diploma achieved, he joined the Lehigh Univ. faculty as an Assistant Professor in Education in Bethlehem, PA in 1972 in the division of Educational Administration. He taught and advised students at the graduate and advance graduate level in Education in Administration and Curriculum Instruction while also serving as executive secretary of the LeHigh Valley School Study Council. In May of 1973 Dennis was a guest lecturer at the Inter- American Univ in San Juan, Puerto Rico and visited schools there It was in 1973 their first child, Heather, was born. He loved being a new dad. The intrigue of working further with the curriculum model he designed with schools in another part of the country led him to what now is Pittsburg State University. In August of 1975 Dennis became an Assistant Professor at Kansas State College of Pittsburg, KS. He taught curriculum classes and elementary math methods for students in elementary education. During his time there he was promoted to Associate Professor. Dennis loved teaching classes, advising, and working with the students. It was soon after moving to Pittsburg in 1975 Dennis and Pat joined The First Presbyterian Church. It was not long and Dennis joined the choir singing with his joyful bass voice that could reach those low notes. Being in the choir there lasted over the next 40 years.
In 1979 a second child, Doug, was born. Dennis loved his time with their new son. It was in 1981 he had an experience working with schools in Brazil, South America as a curriculum specialist. He was one of four Americans selected for this Cooperative venture by the Association of American Schools in South America. He went there to instruct elementary teachers in the American schools there how to use micro- computers in their instruction.
In 1983 Dennis had a passion to spend more time in the field working with schools and teachers. Thus Pickering’s Educational Services was started full time with his wife Pat helping him. Schools were served with Dr. Pickering’s curriculum consulting for the next three decades plus. Publications were published, presentations were made at national education conventions and at the state level, numerous articles were published, exhibits were done at the national and state conventions. Over the years Dennis was a member of numerous professional education organizations. One he especially enjoyed was being selected for membership into the Professors of Curriculum, a national organization that gathered discussing issues in curriculum.
Dennis worked on two building projects with many others in the two merged Presbyterian churches in Pittsburg now called The Presbyterian Church of Pittsburg. His prior knowledge of working with his hands in the building trades, as well as his thinking skills in thinking through projects added. Both church projects have been successfully completed. He has served both as a Deacon and numerous times as an Elder in the church. Over the years Dennis worked with many people on various projects serving others. He especially enjoyed working when The Lord’s Diner opened in Pittsburg.
Family life was so important and Dennis enjoyed being a dad immensely. Being involved with both kids in their activities while balancing a business meant he was there for them. Dennis loved his family and felt it was important to stay in contact with loved ones afar.
Over the years, Dennis’ many interests and hobbies unfolded that included relationships with his kids and grandkids, relationships with his parents, siblings, in-laws, and others in the family and friends. He loved to read and read widely in keeping current in his education career. He loved reading the Bible and Study Bibles. He loved music with the classical his favorite but also liked the fiddle music of the Ozarks. He loved woodworking and was adept in repairing things. He liked sports especially Cincinnati Reds baseball in Ohio, football especially the KC Chiefs, and his beloved Ohio State football he followed with a passion. March madness was a favorite and he enjoyed it all.
Dennis is survived by his wife Patricia (Pat); a daughter, Heather Bohaty (Robert) of Derby, KS; a son, Douglas (Heather) of Zionsville, IN; a sister, K’Anna Black (Greg) of Port Charlotte, FL; six grandchildren, Alayna Bohaty, Ayden Bohaty, Ashlyn Bohaty, Bryce Bohaty, Jacob Pickering, and Ella Pickering; and nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents Dorothy and Harley Pickering, and his sister Deanna Ruckle.
A Celebration of Life Service will be at 1:30pm on Saturday, January 6, 2024 at The Presbyterian Church in Pittsburg with pastors Mark Chambers and Jim Sukraw co-officiating. Visitation will follow in the Leffler Life Center at the church. Memorial donations can be made to The Presbyterian Church of Pittsburg Music Fund or to MD Anderson Cancer Center, designated for pancreatic cancer research. These may be left at or mailed to the Brenner Mortuary, 114 E. 4th St., Pittsburg, KS 66762. Friends may leave condolences online at www.brennermortuary.com. Arrangements are under the direction of the Brenner Mortuary, Pittsburg, KS.