John Samuel Bickford

August 17, 1939October 27, 2014
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Our fun loving, generous, and notorious goofball, John "Grumpy"S. Bickford croaked at the age of 75 years young. After a bogie on Monday, October 27, 2014 at 2:30PM on the 7th hole at Eaglemont Golf Course in Mt. Vernon, Washington, John had a sudden heart attack and passed away. A few of his best friends and longtime golfing buddies, Gary, Barry, and Rod, were with him at his final moments and knew he went on immediately to "the Golf Course in the Sky" immediately because he didn't even utter one profanity. If given a choice, John passed away exactly as he would have chosen EXCEPT that he wasn't winning and was probably looking forward to the 18th hole with a come back victory; competitive rascal that he always was.

We will all miss John in our own ways. No one will ever fill shoes large enough to duplicate his laugh, sense of humor, long conversations, amazing dinners, gifts of candy and "as seen on T.V.” gadgets, and unconditional love to name just a few qualities. John was born in Quincy, California to parents Raymond Allen and Marguerite Neiva Marie (Dewitz) Bickford on August 17, 1939. He was one of nine children in the family. He was a creative man, a perpetual inventor, who seemed to be able to find a solution for any difficulty confronting him. He had faith in his ability to find those solutions. John thoroughly enjoyed understanding how things worked. He possessed an inquisitive, confident, and rational nature matched with a versatile and agile mind. John was a person who believed that he could achieve whatever he set out to do.

Because he was a quick thinker and adept at picking up on new things, John performed well in college. He was always on a quest for knowledge and he relished the experience. Theories intrigued him, and he was good at solving complex problems. He always wanted to understand rather than judge. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree at Lewis and Clark College in Portland University with a concentration in Physical Education, Biology, and Speech. John attended college on a 3 sport varsity scholarship and on October 22, 1983, was inducted into The Men's Athletic Hall of Fame through his excellence of achievement in intercollegiate athletics for 1958 - 1962. He was a four-year letterman in football and track and field; two-time all-NAIA District 2 end in football; all-American honorable mention in 1960. Two-time Northwest Conference high hurdles champion in track; doubled to win NWC low hurdles title as a sophomore; also won NAIA District hurdles title and ran sprints for L & C.

As a born inventor and caregiver, John was definitely in his element in his work place. He could easily create new and innovative systems, and incorporate those changes to bring a fresh approach to any work situation. John was a focused worker with a strong drive for achievement. He could assess all of the options before him and, using his analytical skills, could comfortably find answers that no one else had even considered. His personal initiative inspired those around him. John was always good at getting a project started and then, at the appropriate time, handing it on to a colleague. His primary occupation was in Restaurant Management. He started his employment during college to provide the additional income required for college expenses not covered under his scholarship, as Producer and Announcer in 1957-1962, conducting a two-hour radio program involving interviews, commercials, and sports announcing. He, also, worked as a Retail Sales Representative in 1957-1960 and was responsible for the sale of products such as men's wear, hardware, food service production and merchandising. From 1960-1968, John's career progressed at Saga Food Services, Inc. In Palo Alto, California as a Food Director and was responsible for complete food service program for college and universities on a private contracting basis, bringing in sales volume in excess of $1,800,000 annually involving Lewis and Clark College, Idaho State University, and Western Washington University.

John's passion for finding a better way to do things was often an end in itself for him. In fact, that interest by itself became something of a hobby for this perpetual problem solver. If he didn’t have a problem to solve, he would create one. Since John was always searching for new and unusual activities, he developed many interests and leisure pursuits. Some of the things he became an “expert” in might come as a surprise to those who knew him, but most friends and family understood that “Grumpy” simply couldn’t be limited to just a few activities or ideas. He was able to excel at his assets while he worked from 1968-1976 as a General Manager at University of Washington Student Union Building in Seattle, 1976-1978 as a Teacher and Food Services Director at Highline Community College in Federal Way, 1976-1978 as an Owner/ Operator at Happy Burger in Edmonds, 1977-1986 as an Owner/ Operator at Bickford’s Seafood broiler and Bickford’s Steaks in Edmonds, Washington. He returned to California in 1986 and continued his profession as a Managing General Partner for Round Table Pizza in Monrovia and La Cresenta until 1994. From 1994-1997, John resided in Lebanon Oregon and continued as a Managing General Partner at Pizza King. In 1997, John relocated to Washington State and Managed Tony Moroni’s Gourmet Pizza in Kirkland until he found his “family” and served his last food service position at Pagliacci Pizza in 1999; retiring in 2011.

Recreational sports included giving unsolicited (but often insightful) advice, spending time with family, cooking and golfing. He could often be found shopping at the local dollar store, RadioShack, Grocery Outlet, Costco, and Cash’n’Carry. John was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed following his favorite events whenever he got the opportunity. Tops on his list were NFL Football ("GO SEAHAWKS!"). He kept current with University Football, watching his favorite Oregon Duck's. He enjoyed stirring up drama between his "WSU Coug's"/ "U of W Huskies" divided and adopted family, The Ausman's, Hansen's and Gleason's, after each "Apple Cup" at Thanksgiving by making fun of the losing Alumni Team.

Traveling and going away on vacations offered yet another opportunity for John to expand his ever-growing inventory of knowledge. Favorite vacations included family reunions in Sweet Home, Oregon.

Even while in retirement, John never stopped exercising his inventive talents, and this new phase of his life provided new opportunities for stimulating his interests. In 2011, "Grumpy" was practically forced into retirement from Pagliacci Pizza, where he was employed since 1999, after having a heart stent and double knee replacements. He deeply missed his Pagliacci crew and often spoke of his work colleagues as family. Even in retirement, John continued to stay in touch with his old friends while making plenty of new acquaintances. He was active in the community and felt fulfilled when delivering candy to the dentist and his staff, visiting local family to ensure they were “eating enough”, calling those he hadn’t heard from to give them a “hard time”, creating a new recipe, feeding the hummingbirds, squirrels, and other backyard wildlife with “numerous repeat customers” – just to name a few.

John is preceded in death by his parents and one older sister, Shirley Slater. He leaves behind his older brother, Alan Bickford; older sister, Rayetta (Nick) Smith; younger brother, Ron (Flo) Bickford; younger sister, Bonnie (Paul) Stulz; younger brother, Willie (Cindy) Bickford; younger brother, Leroy (Linda) Bickford, younger brother, Frank (Jackie) Bidkford; former wife, Robbyne Tommasi; stepson, Jeff Larson; stepdaughter, Kristen Larson; one very cherished granddaughter, Tatum O'Brien; MANY numerous loving extended family and friends.

We want to make sure John knows how much we appreciate his impact on our lives and will always value his generosity. To honor John's life and all he meant to each of us, a Celebration of Life Partywill be held on Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 at the Nile Golf & Country Club, 6601 244th Street SW, Mountlake Terrace, Washington 98043-2750 at 6PM with a Toast and open sharing to begin at 7PM. For those who are unable to attend services in Seattle, a Public Celebration of Life will be held at the Annual Bickford Family Reunion hosted by LeRoy & Willie in August 2015 in Sweet Home - service details pending.

During his lifetime, nothing appeared impossible to John. He met the words “it can’t be done” with the enthusiastic challenge of a “wanna bet” attitude. John was able to recognize the possibilities a new idea held, even when those around him could not. For John, the traditional way of doing things fell short of his expectations, especially if there were original and untested methods for handling a challenge. For John Samuel Bickford, the fun of living his life could be found in the challenge.

Please help our family remember "Grumpy" (or whatever name you preferred to called him) by sharing your thoughts, fond memories, adding your photos, and signing the online guestbook. To record and share an audio story for our family, call: 1-800-553-0107 or International: +1 408-459-8985 - use reference Code: 82479629.

John’s favorite pursuit and main passion in life was making other people happy. As quoted by Albert Einstein, “Only a life lived in service to others is worth living.” John lived his life well. He will forever be missed but always remembered in the many lives he graced.

"THE GOLF COURSE IN THE SKY" As eighteen flags flew at half mast, and Glasses were soberly raised high The latest member was having a ball At the golf course in the sky Freed from the gravity of the situation The first tee shot soared through space Bringing a wondrous, beaming smile To a kind, down to earth face Surrounded by old club friends Once thought never to be seen again The infinity course beckoned ahead Eighteen holes were for mere mortal men ~ Poem by Michael Ashby ~


  • Celebration of Life Party Saturday, November 22, 2014
  • Celebration of Life Memorial Saturday, August 8, 2015

John Samuel Bickford

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ron Bickford

August 3, 2015

The Bickford reunion will be held on the tenative date that was previously stated August 8 2015 and included will be a public celebration of life from 2:00pm till 4:00pm in the afternoon. All siblings will greatly miss our brother John. Will see everyone at the gathering. Brother Ron.

Tatum Obrien

April 13, 2015

Grandpa I will miss u soooooo much I love you!

Heidi Bronson

January 15, 2015

I miss you John! I love you very much! See you when it's my turn to go to heaven! I bet your loving your new life! We sure miss you down here! Until we meet again!

Heidi Bronson

December 5, 2014

Thank you to all that posted pictures of our beloved John Bickford! Please keep posting and keep the memory alive for John! Love and miss you dearly John!

Penny Delaunay

November 22, 2014

John is one of the kindest people that I have ever met. He did SO MUCH for so many people and very little for himself. The holidays won't be the same without him!! We were very fortunate to be considered his friends...but more like family. John you will be greatly missed. Keep looking down on us!!

Norm Hansen

November 21, 2014

Meeting John some 20 plus years ago has change my life. I adopted him into our family. His laughter and great personality always brought a warm feeling to every gathering. John was one of the most thoughtful people I know.
Know that you are missed and loved for being who you are.
A thoughtful person, great cook and willing to help at a moments notice.

Lindell Johnson

November 18, 2014

I met John in the summer preceding his freshman year at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. He was on the Shrine team, quartered at Lewis and Clark. I knew he would be going to L & C that fall and became friends that summer with John and his other team mates. I was the Athletic Dept Secretary ( a plum job for a student), so really got to know John as a student athlete. I had lost contact with John after graduation, but always asked fellow L&C friends where he was, what he was doing. I wish I had known he was back in Lebanon for awhile because I live in Albany. It would have been fun to renew our friendship. My condolences to John's family and close friends. He was a quality person, one you were happy to have passed through your life.

Heidi Bronson

November 18, 2014

I have known John for 19 years and we have had some awesome great times together! I met him while bartending at the Elks Lodge. I was a new employee and I was scared to be alone in the huge building after closing so he offered to stay while I closed up for the evening. We became the best of friends instantly! He had the most infectious laugh and giving heart of anyone I know! He truly was a special soul! He was that way with everyone. He made you feel special! I love you John Bickford and I will miss you dearly!! Until we meet again in the next wonderful life with Jesus!! :)

November 16, 2014

"SAGA" John played a big part in my life .I was hired as a student worker and worked 4years while attending Western Washington College.He was a great guy , super team builder where I learned too"work hard &play hard".Saga John convinced me to change my career path and go to work for Saga after graduation and spend 40 years .John always made us feel good while being our leader.May rest in Peace and lots of Mulligans !
Bruce Money Gig Harbor Wa.

Erika and Tom

November 15, 2014

We had one visit with John. Only one. And it was perfect, it was fun, honest and meaningful. It's not something that normally happens when you meet people for the first time.
This was a special person. Thank you for the time we spent with John Samuel Bickford, we are so grateful.
Tom and Erika


John learning his new Samsung Galaxy 5 smartphone by taking "selfies" in September 2014


Norm and John aboard Rod & Marilyn's Blue Eagle