March 8,1939-November 11,2012
Richard (Dick) Pickering was born March 8, 1939 to Richard Cornelius and Mary Louis Bondioli Pickering. He and his younger brother, Gary (Guido), were close buddies growing up and through their young adult years. Dick told stories about their crazy, exciting and sometimes dangerous escapades. Dick exhibited toughness as a child that would endure his entire life.
Dick graduated with a BA in English from Arizona State Univ. in 1963, and was awarded a MFA in Fine Arts from the Univ. of Oregon in 1969. He was a Senior Instructor there until 1988 and Assistant Dept. Head for the last few years. He was an extraordinary teacher of Basic Design. Former students fondly remember his unconditional support. Robert James was his mentor and long time friend. Dick's artwork was both serious and playful. The work made at the peak of his career consisted of wood structures holding groups of items such as floats, paper bags, plumb bobs and boulders, and was meticulously detailed and finely crafted.
Dick had two consecutive families. He married Carolyn (Bush) Huss in 1962. They divorced in 1980. They had two sons, Thorin and Rafer, who preceded Dick in death in 1998 and 1997, respectively. Dick married Rebecca (Andrews) Montgomery in 1987 and they had two children, Tyler and Madeline. Dick and Rebecca divorced in 1999. Dick's greatest love was his four children. His brother, Guido Bondioli, his half brother, Harold Pickering, his half sisters, Carolyn Lohmann, and Donna Russell, and a grandchild, Ember Pickering, also survive him.
Dick suffered severe headaches throughout the 70's and 80's; a cavernous sinus brain tumor was finally discovered in 1988. He underwent four marathon brain surgeries in Pittsburgh, PA in 1988 and 1989. Tina Dworakowski was a loyal friend and instrumental in his long rehabilitation. The surgeries left him with brain damage that profoundly affected the next 24 years of his life, but in all that time he never failed to be optimistic and curious.
In many ways he remained a teacher, helping friends and acquaintances with their projects the same way he had helped students to bring their dreams to concrete form. He was friendly with, and thankful for, his neighbors. He also met weekly for more than 10 years with a group of people who had suffered strokes, through the Eugene Hearing and Speech Center.
Dick was independent and lived at home with help from his family until shortly before his death. The last month was spent in a wonderful foster home called the Young and Restless, where he was cared for with utmost respect and love.
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Published in Eugene Register-Guard on Dec. 8, 2012