Friday, March 7, 2008

The Call From Home


At 1:30 pm today I got the call. My pop has passed away. He's stopped eating 8 days ago, so we knew it would be anytime. Most people go in 3-5 days under those circumstances. (I credit his stubborn nature and Pioneer heritage.) Angela was holding one hand, my mom, the other, and they said he seemed very peaceful. My heart is aching, but I am also relieved, mostly for my mom who has been diligently caring for him for quite a while, keeping him at home longer than she should have. It was his last best gift to her that he didn't languish endlessly in a nursing home.

As a sometimes writer, I've dabbled in many of the genres from poetry to reviews to theses to real estate copy. But until this week I'd never done an obituary. Here's my dad's:

Danford Critchlow Bickmore, 78, of Paradise Utah passed away March 7, 2008, peacefully in his sleep.

He was born October 16, 1929, son of Danford McArthur Bickmore and Georgina Bolette Critchlow . He was the youngest of 12 children, all raised in Paradise. From a young age, his parents instilled in him a love of learning and of the gospel, which would be the guiding principles of his whole life.
Upon graduation from South Cache High School in 1947, he attended Utah State University, and then served an LDS mission in the British Isles from 1950-52. In 1953 Dan graduated with a degree in business and inspired by his beloved older brother Lee , he attended Harvard Business School as a Baker scholar, class of ’55.

Dan then accepted work in Los Angeles, which became his home for the next 40 years. While living in Westwood, he met his future wife, Marilyn McFarland of San Gabriel, California. They were married in the LDS Temple in Los Angeles on March 11, 1960, 48 years ago this month. Over the next eight years four children were born, giving Dan one of the greatest joys of his life: fatherhood. Dan worked for a variety of companies and eventually started his own company as a financial consultant. This gave Dan more time to be involved in church and community affairs. Whether in capacity as a home teacher or temple worker, Dan executed his calling with dedication and enthusiasm. One of his dearest memories is the time he spent as Scout Master of Troop 147. All 15 boys he worked with became Eagle Scouts. Later he was called to be Bishop of the Canoga Park Third Ward, Los Angeles, California. Five years in that position gave him many opportunities to attend to the spiritual and secular needs of the congregation who loved and respected him. But no matter where he worked or what calling he had, Dan always found time to read, surrounding himself with all manner of books, a quality his posterity has embraced.



Someone once said “You can take a boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.” That was true of Dan. In 1977 he found his slice of country in the small, hilly community of Bell Canyon. There he built the house on his dreams, planted a citrus orchard, and built stables for his beloved horses. Some of his happiest times were spent riding over the miles of scenic trails that wound their way through the Santa Monica Mountains with family and friends. But the call to return to Paradise was strong, and in 1994 Dan and Marilyn moved back to his childhood home where they have lived ever since. Though Dan retired from work when they moved back, he never retired from his spiritual duties serving a second mission with Marilyn to Detroit, Michigan in 2000, working in the temple, and with the Hyrum Stake Young Single Adults. He also never retired from his parental role as academic/career advisor and has encouraged his children and grandchildren to always seek knowledge, education, and hard work.






He is survived by Marilyn, his wife of 48 years; children Lee (Helen) Bickmore of Albany, N.Y, Dan (Lisa) Bickmore of Redding, CA, Angela (Tristan) Whitman of Agoura Hills, CA, Heather (David) Sundahl of Boston, MA; grandchildren: Matthew, Kate and Harry Bickmore; Jason and Natalie Bickmore; Lydia, Elijah and Jesse Whitman; Jonah, Georgia, Camille and Beatrice Sundahl; his siblings Jean (Steven) White of Farmington, UT and Barbara (Sterling) Sessions of Ogden, UT.

On Saturday March 15, 2008 a viewing will be from 10:00-11:30 a.m. with Funeral Services following at noon in the Paradise Third Ward, 9060 South, 200 West. Interment to follow at the Paradise Town Cemetery. The family wishes to express their thanks to Dr. Steven Salisbury and his staff; to our fabulous CNS Hospice team: Carol McDonald, RN, and Angie Theurer; and the Sunshine Terrace skilled nursing unit; and the many friends and neighbors who provided love and support.

On Saturday March 15, 2008 a viewing will be from 10:00-11:30 a.m. with Funeral Services following at noon in the Paradise Third Ward, 9060 South, 200 West. Interment to follow at the Paradise Town Cemetery. The family wishes to express their thanks to Dr. Steven Salisbury and his staff; to our fabulous CNS Hospice team: Carol McDonald, RN, and Angie Theurer; and the Sunshine Terrace skilled nursing unit; and the many friends and neighbors who provided love and support.

And now I am working on a eulogy (which I hear in my head "yuh-googl-E" thanks to Zoolander) and trying to figure out flights, child care, Dave's plans, how to rearrange parent teacher conferences, etc. etc. Mostly I'm eager to hug my siblings, hear Beryl Smiley sing "Danny Boy," and hold my mom.

3 comments:

Rebecca said...

We love you "Hello". Please let us help any way we can.

mike and maren said...

I'm sad to hear that and hope that if there's anything we can do to help with the funeral or airport pick-ups ... whatever ... that you'll use and abuse us!

The Albertsen Family said...

Mama - you're a good daughter. BTW...your Bea looks just like you.