Dr. Robert I. Bickford

August 5, 1929August 3, 2022
Obituary of Dr. Robert I. Bickford
Prominent Prince George’s County citizen, Dr. Robert I. Bickford, 92, of Bowie MD, passed away on Wednesday, August 3, surrounded by his loving family. He was born August 5, 1929 in Brentwood, MD to Robert Ira Bickford Sr, and Caroline Barnett Bickford. A lifetime resident of Prince Georges County, he has called Colmar Manor, Seabrook, and Bowie his homes. He is preceded in death by his father and mother, his sisters Charlotte Thompson and Elizabeth Howard, his niece, Carol J. Thompson, and his loving wife of 64 years, June Douglas Bickford. He is survived by his children, Beverly B. Schill (Jeffrey), Mark E. Bickford (Denise), Susan B. Mathias (Wayne), Wayne R. Bickford (Susan), and Robin B. Brooks (William). Also surviving are his 12 grandchildren: Kathryn Howe, Caroline Schill, Jeffrey Schill, Jr., Kristi Bickford, Scott Bickford, Michael Mathias, Anne Redmon, James Mathias, Emily Feigl, Jack Bickford, Kelly Koorey, and Steven Brooks, as well as his niece, Kay Banko and nephew Jimmy Orrison, great niece Alison Schwartz, and his devoted nephew, Warren “Pat” Thompson (Harriette). He was the proud grandfather to 11 great grandchildren. In his early years, Dr. Bickford attended Cottage City and Colmar Manor Elementary Schools, and graduated from Bladensburg High School where he played soccer, basketball and baseball. A natural leader, he was twice elected by his peers as Class President. With baseball as his favorite pastime, he enjoyed playing for the Colmar Manor “Angels”, the University of Maryland, and the Boys’ Club of Greater Washington in the Washington D.C. Industrial League. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1950 followed by a Master’s Degree in Education from George Washington University in 1964, an A.P.C. degree in Administration and Guidance in 1965, and his Doctorate in Higher Education in 1972. His entire career as a Prince George’s County educator spanned 50 years. In 1950, he began his teaching career as a physical education instructor at Maryland Park High school. In 1951, he moved to Suitland high school where, in addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was head coach of Varsity Basketball, Varsity Lacrosse, Varsity Baseball, Varsity Golf, and Assistant Coach for Varsity Football. To round out his time there, he also assumed the role as Athletic Director. In 1962, Prince Georges Community College was founded as a night college at the High School and Dr. Bickford supplemented his full-time teaching duties with a part-time role as a teacher and golf coach at the college. He moved full time to the college as the Director of Student Activities in 1964. He was later promoted to Dean of the Evening and Summer School division when the college moved to its permanent location in Largo, MD in 1967. In 1972 he was appointed President of PGCC. He remained at the helm for 27 years. It was under his tutelage that the college thrived and grew into of one the largest community colleges in the nation. The Robert I. Bickford Natatorium Aquatics Building was dedicated in 1992 as a testament to his contributions, devotion, and loyalty to the college. Affectionately referred to as “Bick”, “Doc”, or Dr. “B”, he was very active in the community. His community and civic positions include: Lifelong member of the Cottage City Volunteer Fire Department; Naval Reserves; International Association of Approved Basketball Officials; Director, Suburban Federal Savings Bank; Chairman, Maryland Council for Community College Presidents; Member of the Bladensburg Rotary Club; Regional Chairman and Public Service Chairman of the United Way Campaign for PG County; Member of the Superintendent’s Advisory Board for Business & Industry; Member of the PG County Board of Trade; member of the Economic Development Advisory Committee of PG County; Director, PG County Chamber of Commerce; a member of Phi Beta Kappa; and an honorary member of the Maryland State Police. During his lifetime he received many honors and awards including: Washington Area Baseball Hall of Fame; Outstanding Assistance and Cooperation by the Prince George’s County Fire Department; PG County Citizen of the Year; Rotary Award of Merit, Outstanding Educators of Maryland; Maryland Governor’s Citation for Outstanding Service as president of PGCC; Maryland Senate Resolution in Recognition of Service; to PG county; Outstanding Service, Big Brothers of National Capital Area; and GW University School of Education Outstanding Achievement in Education. But Dr. Bickford’s greatest honors lie in the legacy he left at Prince George’s Community College during his 27-year tenure. He left an indelible mark of excellence on PGCC, leading to its greatest level of achievement and success. His lifelong love and commitment to quality education made a profound impact on his students, his colleagues, and his community during his 50 years of service to education in Maryland. Yet, these paled in comparison to his devotion to family. His greatest honor was being married to his wife, June, and his greatest source of love and pride were his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

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Monday, August 08, 2022


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