Dr. Robert Gene Pickering (Bob) passed away on March 15th with his devoted wife of 47 years, Joyce, at his side. He was born in Lima, Ohio on October 28th, 1931 to Gayle and Earl Pickering. He grew up in Lima and showed strong leadership skills from an early age that would be recognized throughout his life. In high school he was President of the Student Council and was active in DeMolay and football. He was known as a friendly and outgoing person, who cared deeply about his family, friends and students.
He attended college at Ohio Wesleyan and received his B. A. from Ohio Northern University in counseling and administration. He served his country during the Korean war in Army Intelligence with top security clearance. Bob’s Master’s Degrees, Post Masters and Post Doctoral work was from Miami of Ohio, University of Michigan, Harvard, Virginia Polytechnic University and the University of South Africa. His Doctorate in Psychology was from Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Sao Paulo in Brazil in 1978.
During his college years and early career, Bob became a Mason and Shriner and was recognized as a 60 year Scottish Rite and York Rite Shriner. He ran for the Ohio state senate and was narrowly defeated. An energetic leader he also served as the Allen County fair board manager.
Beginning his career in education, he taught in Ohio and then became a principal and Supervising Principal in Sarasota, Fl. He served as the Superintendent of the Reading School District in Cincinnati, Ohio for 10 years. In 1963 he received the first Mott Fellowship in Community Education awarded to a public school administrator. Bob was an innovative educational leader who opened the first Montessori pre-school program in a public school in the United States in 1967. From 1972-74, Bob served as President of the American Montessori Society. In 1968 he instituted programs for students with dyslexia in the Reading school district and helped set up programs for students with dyslexia in other school districts. During these years he also taught at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He also was President of the Kiwanis and President of the Valley Area Superintendents’ Association. He was honored as a Kentucky Colonel and was named Young Man of the Year.
After 10 years in Reading, Bob accepted the position of Superintendent of the American School (Escola Graduada de Sao Paulo) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He brought the Montessori program training to the school, which was the first Montessori program in an overseas American school. He also instituted a program for students with dyslexia there, making Graded the first overseas American school to offer assistance for these students.
While in Brazil, Bob was elected President of the Association of American Schools in South America and traveled to all of the countries in South America. He received the South America Educational Leadership Citation from the Association of American Schools in South America in 1978. He also obtained his doctorate in Psychology while working in Sao Paulo. Bob was awarded the Brazilian Marechal Trompowsky national award of merit for leadership in culture and education.
After 10 years at the American School in Brazil, Dr. Pickering accepted the position of Superintendent of the American School in Mexico City, Mexico. He also served as Head of Southfield School in Shreveport, Louisiana after returning to the states. Bob retired in 1986.
Bob married Joyce Pickering in 1976. Together they served the American School in Brazil, the American School in Mexico City and Southfield. In 1990, Joyce became the Director of the Shelton School and Evaluation Center and Bob came out of retirement to be the school’s Director of Finance. Bob worked for Shelton for 24 years. During that time he supervised the acquisition of property and buildings as the school grew from 170 students to 750 at the time of his retirement.
During the years they lived in Dallas, Bob was a dedicated and active member of the Church of the Holy Communion serving on the Finance Committee and the Arch-DioceseTheology Committee.
Bob is survived by his wife, Joyce, his daughters from his first marriage, Denise Lawton and Lisa Brown and his daughters from his marriage to Joyce, Jessica Newman and Leslie Delorenzi, and his stepsons Howard, David and Charles Jones. His grandchildren include Tripp and Christina Lawton, Nicholas Goings, Tiffany Johnson, Kendall Newman, Hadley Newman, Anna Delorenzi and Julia Delorenzi. His great grandchildren are Nixon Goings and Everett Jackson.
During his long life, Bob was known as a kind and generous man who loved children and served schools that provided the most innovative programs to help each student. He had a rare career and is beloved by his family and all of his colleagues.
Donations in Bob’s honor may be made to the Church of the Holy Communion or the Shelton School and Evaluation Center.
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