Herbert Leon Pickell Jr.

19 July, 19342 September, 2020


Kirksey Funeral Home

A virtual memorial service will be held on Friday, February 12, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. If you would like to attend, please email your request to Cindy at [email protected] Herbert Leon Pickell, Jr., 86, died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his family, around 7:45 PM, Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at his home in Morganton, NC. He was born July 19, 1934 in Somerville, New Jersey. He was married on February 12, 1988 to Cindy Decker-Pickell, by whom he is survived. He is also survived by his sons, Herbert (Bert) Pickell, III, of Indianapolis, IN and Davin Pickell of Madison, WI (from his first marriage, to Carol Ann Pickell, also of Indianapolis); one granddaughter, Elizabeth Robbins of Brooklyn, NY; his sisters Elizabeth Merring of Belvidere, NJ and Mary Lou (Ed) Nelson of Westampton, NJ; and one dear family friend, Rudolph Croom, Jr., of Kinston, NC, who Herb considered to be his third son. He was preceded in death by his loving parents, Elizabeth and Herbert Pickell, Sr. Herb could accomplish anything he set his mind to. When he was born with kniest dysplasia, a doctor warned that he would never be able to walk or to accomplish anything in his life. With his dear mother’s encouragement and support, he proceeded to prove the doctor wrong, excelling in school, and graduating from Gallaudet College, and subsequently earning his Masters’ degree in Education from the University of Virginia. Over the decades of his career, he served as an advocate for deaf rights and accessibility, becoming a well-known leader in the Deaf community nationwide. Herb worked for more than 40 years, starting in 1957 as a counselor of boys, and woodworking instructor at Lutheran School for the Deaf in Detroit, Michigan; Elementary Woodworking Instructor, Track Coach, and Dorm Counselor at Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton, Virginia; Field Account at his father’s concrete business in Mt. Holly, NJ; Counselor and Academic Instructor at Michigan Association for Better Hearing and Speech in East Lansing, MI; Executive Director/Counselor/ Social Worker at Deaf and Hard of Hearing Counseling in Wichita, KS; Coordinator of Expanded Services for the Deaf Project at Vocational Rehabilitation Center of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, PA; Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist for the Deaf at Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Center in Johnstown, PA; Agency Director at National Fraternal Society of the Deaf in Mt. Prospect, IL; Director of State Service Bureau for the Deaf in Madison, WI; Director of Office for Hearing Impaired, Bureau for Sensory Disabilities, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in Madison, WI; Program Administrator at Telecommunications Access for Communicative-Impaired Persons Board in St. Paul, MN and Executive Director of Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. in Tallahassee, FL. The number of individuals and organizations he served and supported are vast. Herb was loved dearly by people wherever he went. His sense of humor and his courageous advocacy will not soon be forgotten. Family, especially his sons, and the Boston Red Sox were Herb’s passions and brought him much delight. Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be sent to National Association of the Deaf, of which he was involved for 5 decades and served in various roles including board member.

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Past Services

Friday, 12 February, 2021

Virtual Memorial Service