Jason Rickett

1970 - 2019
Jason Rickett Obituary

1970 - 2019

Jason Rickett, humanitarian and scholar, left this earth of his own volition in August 2019. He was born in Bakersfield and attended Saint Francis and Garces high schools. There he kindled a passion for writing that sustained him the rest of his life. For many years he was the main writer and editor of the Blackboard, an alternative newspaper that provided a liberal alternative to local conservative news. Ironically, it was also Garces that inspired him to become an outspoken atheist, and it was one of his missions to spread that gospel as well.

He spent many years in the retail sector until he was diagnosed bipolar. He struggled with his illness even as he aspired to be one who contributed to the world around him. The Blackboard was his first big contribution to the world, and he spent countless unpaid hours editing and writing, and often paid for much of its distribution himself. He passionately believed in the First Amendment, and he regularly fought for the rights of others within its pages.

In 2010, Jason met Belinda Lopez, and they were married on Dia Los Muertos, 2013, one of the happiest days of his life. With Belinda, Jason helped form the Bakersfield Burrito Project in 2012. Jason ensured they were a recognized non-profit, and he volunteered every weekend and holiday to feed the homeless. He said, "Two hands rolling a burrito are better than two hands praying." His writing skills helped the fledgling organization get much-needed grants to continue their work. He also volunteered for a myriad of other community works, all in the name of making a difference, because he understood that every act of generosity, no matter how small, makes a difference to someone. He worked hard and loved fiercely, and it is all the more amazing when people realize the internal battles he was fighting. He found in his own struggles a desire to prevent others from struggling; he was an extraordinary man.

Both Jason and Belinda began attending Bakersfield College in 2013, and in 2016 Jason earned his AA in English. He wrote numerous short stories during these years and even published a novel, Thousand Points of Darkness, of which he was very proud. In 2018, they both matriculated to CSUB, and Jason fell in love with Linguistics. When he died, he was on track to earn his MA in English and Linguistics. His second novel, to be published posthumously, is Just a Game.

Jason is survived by his wife, Belinda Lopez Rickett; stepchildren Leala R. Singleton, Michael V. Wells, Lance Corporal Josephine C. Wells Ashley USMC and her husband John, his mother Lynn Marie Taylor, and brother Justin James Rickett. He is preceded in death by his father James (Jim) Baynham Rickett and brother Joshua Baynham Rickett.

Memorial service will be at McMurphy's, 14 Monterey Street (Upstairs) on September 9, 2019 at 6 pm. Jason would have been very upset if people sent flowers to his memorial. He'd have said, "Donate to the Bakersfield Burrito Project!" So, in accordance with his wishes, please send checks to BBP, PO Box 139, Bakersfield, CA 93302, or via Paypal to [email protected]. Rather than send thoughts and prayers. Do something to make a difference in the lives of others. That was Jason's mantra.

Published in Bakersfield Californian on Sept. 1, 2019
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