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Richard C. Pickering 1939-2012

Richard C. Pickering

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December 29, 2014
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December 29, 2014
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December 08, 2012
Dick was gentle, kind, insightful, and easy to be around. When I complained that I ‘had' to do something, he would gently remind me that I could choose to think differently. Instead of saying, “I have to,” I could say, “I get to”. “All of life is an opportunity.” One Oregon newspaper article quoted him as saying “it seems important to me to see (challenges) as an opportunity, not as a frustration.”

In April 2005 he went to Tucson AZ to speak at a convention for brain-injured people. He told me, “this trip was really difficult for me and on the very edge of what I can do…. but that's where you grow. You don't learn anything if you don't push past your comfort zone.” My experience of Dick was that he always tried to become better, not bitter. He amazed me with his positive attitude in struggling with his disabilities.

Dick was given a whole chapter in the book, “Courage to Give,” by Jackie Waldman (2000). It is a book of inspiring stories of people who triumphed over tragedy to make a difference in the world. The book was recommended by Oprah's book club. Dick's chapter was entitled, “Always a Teacher”. In it he states, “In my old life, I used to have to do things. Now I get to do them.” When giving presentations, he would encourage students to not be judgmental. He said, “If you're judgmental, you will miss the fact that errors are wonderful because we learn a lot from them.” In the last paragraph, he commented that he wished he could do some of the things he could do before, but felt like he had learned a lot about dealing with difficulties. He wrote that he had a lot more to learn, and to teach. He also said, “We are all different and we are all the same. Every person has a right to be accepted. I used to be a teacher. People say I still am.”

Dick was interviewed by a reporter, who noticed one of many quotes on the huge chalkboard in his house: “The most significant behavioral error is, I think, to be judgmental.” One time he told me that “when problems occur, look inward rather then outward.” Dick was wonderfully insightful and a courageous survivor. He was kind, compassionate, and a life-long learner and giver. He was a very curious man, always wondering about things that most people never stopped to consider. He had a fascination with life and always stopped to smell the flowers. He made a difference in this world and will always be an inspiration!
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