SunBird Personalities

Rich Pickering showing his wedding picture.

Rich Pickering showing his wedding picture.

Bob Neuman

A span of years can involve many life changes, some quite abrupt. It may be a diagnosis from our doctor, the death of a spouse, the lack of mobility, or the deterioration of our faculties. We here at SunBird definitely have the age factor.

As the years flew by, Rich and Ann Pickering were coping, enjoying life in the sun and celebrating each wedding anniversary, while thinking tomorrow would never come.

Their luck changed in 2004 when Ann had a major heart attack, eventually recovering but unable to do much of anything. This situation left her with serious depression.

In 2012 there was more medical treatment and finally a few days in hospice, then suddenly Rich is without his dear Ann. Two weeks earlier had been their 57th wedding anniversary.

Rich met Ann in school in New York City. She lived in Brooklyn. “We used to attend band concerts in Central Park, and New York was a lot different in the ‘50s,” he remembered. In 1955, they were married and now have two sons and a daughter near in Arizona.

A rather adventurous young man, he once purchased an airplane for a cheap price and learned to fly it. He was 19.

In the Army for 1952-53, Rich was a sergeant in charge of a motor pool in Korea during that war.

Later he was an engineer for a radio station and once had the misfortune of subbing for an announcer that did not arrive. He said, “My voice was shaking so badly, I could hardly talk.” However, he performed well enough to warrant future time on the air.

Leaving the gray days of Illinois, the couple moved into SunBird in 1996 where he continued his unique hobby. Rich was a well-known woodworker. “He is gifted,” Ann commented. “Show him the picture and he can make it.”

Rich has crafted model cars, a juke box and so many other items. The most interesting item may be the full size chariot which rested in Cesar’s Forum I Las Vegas. He has made beautiful furniture, all without plans. People would see him in his Championship Street garage workshop, busy working at something he loved to do.

Never a day has passed that Rich does not miss and think of Ann. He is quick to show a picture from their wedding day that shows him holding his best girl. Both are smiling and happy. He sometimes speaks to her, convinced she hears. Though a lonely life alone, Rich meets each day convinced that some time, maybe soon, they will be reunited.

We who have lost spouses know exactly how dreadful is the aftermath and the forces that forever change our lives. We are part of a fraternity we never wanted to join.