Omar Jay Pickett, age 96, formerly of Greenleaf, Kansas, passed away Sunday, May 24, 2015 in rural Geary County, Kansas.
He was born on February 22, 1919 in Washington County, Kansas, the fifth of eight children to James and Lydia (Barker) Pickett. He attended grade school for eight years at the rural Drager School. He graduated from Barnes High School in 1937. After graduation, he secured a teaching position at Jordan School, teaching from 1937 until 1939. Unable to secure funds or college, he went to work at Myrl Barker Produce in Greenleaf and later worked for another uncle, Charles Sedlacek, helping him on the farm.
In 1942, he was drafted into the Army for World War II. He was sent overseas and landed at Casa Blanca, Africa in 1943 and later spent service time in Italy and France. He returned home and was discharged in November of 1945. After his discharge, Omar and Leon Myers opened up the Shorty & Omar’s Restaurant in Cleburne. With the opportunity to go back to teach, he sold his share of the restaurant and began at teaching position at Springside Elementary, located between Cleburne and Fostoria in 1947. He proceeded to get his education thru the GI Bill and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Kansas State University in 1956. He taught at Olsburg Elementary, White City Elementary and Grandview Elementary before retiring in 1980. He will be inducted into the Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame in June of 2015.
During the summer months he painted houses and when he retired from teaching he moved to Olsburg and continued painting. He moved to Greenleaf in 1983 and continued painting house and was the Site Director for Meals on Wheels. Somewhere along the way he took the position as Greenleaf’s librarian and held the position until December 2012. He then moved back to rural Geary County.
He was preceded in death by his brothers, Howard, Lloyd and Ivan Pickett; sisters, Edith Rosell, Opal Pickett Johnson and Dorothy Pickett.
He is survived by one brother, Delmar Pickett and numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. He was a great friend, mentor and teacher. He will be best remembered for his love for cooking and making candy, a love for life and his big booming laugh.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 P.M. Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Greenleaf with Pastor Susan Bantz officiating. Respect calls may be made anytime Tuesday at the Anderes-Pfeifley Funeral Home in Riley, where the family will receive friends from 7 until 8:00 P.M. Tuesday. Burial with military honors will be in the Mound Cemetery, southeast of Barnes.
A memorial has been established for the Jackson Heights Honor Flight Program. Contributions may be left in care of the Anderes-Pfeifley Funeral Home in Riley.