Reflecting on the Life of Jim Bickford

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Reflecting on the Life of Jim Bickford  Posted: October 25, 2002
Secretary Jim Bickford died this morning at his home in Versailles after a valiant struggle against cancer. Secretary Bickford is survived by his wife, Shirley, his mother, Mrs. Alma Bickford, and a brother, Jack, both of Berea, Kentucky, and three daughters: Mrs. Amy Fraysur (Dale) Leesburg, Fl.; Mrs. Jill Crawford (Mark), Versailles, Ky.; and Mrs. Cindy Bentley (Gary), Port Charlotte, Fl. and five grandchildren.

Funeral services for Secretary Bickford will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, October 28 at St. John's Episcopal Church, Versailles. Visitation will be from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday at Blackburn and Ward Funeral Home, Versailles.

Contributions in memory and honor of Secretary Bickford are suggested to the Pine Mountain Settlement School, or to Hospice of the Bluegrass. Acting Secretary Hank List has asked that donations be sent through the Secretary's Office, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet, 5th Floor, Capital Plaza Tower, Frankfort Ky, 40601 and earmarked for one or the other recipient.

The Board and membership of the Kentucky Resources Council, Inc. mourn the passing of Secretary James Bickford, even as we celebrate his life of service to his country and to this Commonwealth. At a time when most retired military officers would rest on their laurels, Secretary Bickford accepted one of the most difficult Cabinet positions in the state. Over the many years, KRC occasionally clashed with the Secretary's Cabinet over funding and programmatic priorities and permitting or enforcement decisions. But KRC has never doubted the commitment, the energy, the compassion, and the courage that the Secretary brought to his second career of service.

In conversations with Secretary Bickford during his last weeks, he reflected on the beauty of eastern Kentucky's hills. Visiting both the summit of Black Mountain, and the Pine Mountain Settlement School with his mother and again with his daughters, he had the opportunity to share with them two areas that were protected from the impacts of strip mining because of his advocacy of values more enduring than a quarterly profit.

KRC celebrates his legacy and life of service, even as we mourn his death. We appreciate the sacrifice of his family and in particular his wife Shirley, in sharing him with the people of this state after his retirement from military service. In his memory we rededicate ourselves to advancing the cause of environmental justice and reason.


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