SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Elizabeth L. Pickering lost her courageous battle with cancer on Jan. 11, 2017, following a long life filled with family and exploration.
Born in 1932, Elizabeth would travel far beyond her tiny hometown of Great Bend, propelled by her independence and sense of adventure. Growing up, she built a close relationship with her grandmother, who taught her to cook, knit and crochet.
She was also a highly decorated Girl Scout and graduated salutatorian of her high school class. As a college freshman, she married her boyfriend, Thomas C. Pickering, of Wamego after knowing him just a few months. She was so confident in her decision that an aunt dispatched to stop the ceremony instead wound up helping pick out her wedding dress. She and Tom would subsequently raise six children and remain committed marriage partners for the next 64 years.
Elizabeth was also a beloved fixture of the Lompoc Unified School District, and taught bilingual kindergarten until her retirement in 1996. In summers, she and Tom traveled extensively throughout Mexico and the United States, learning and making friends everywhere they visited. Between travels, Elizabeth served on the vestry of St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church, and took many weekends shifts at the church’s thrift store.
Her family and friends will remember how Elizabeth loved Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream, licorice, the color blue, playing Mexican Train dominoes, and crocheting afghan blankets for family and friends. She was also an avid reader, a lifelong learner, and instilled these values into many generations.
In addition to husband Tom, Elizabeth will be missed by her six children, her five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, March 28, 2017**