(July 30, 1933 - March 14, 2020)
Our beloved John joined the ranks of his fallen comrades in the Long Gray Line on March 14, 2020 at The Cypress in Charlotte, NC. A Mass of Christian Burial followed by full military honors at the Forest Lawn East Cemetery, March19, celebrated his life with only dear family members present, due to the risk of the Coronavirus.
John was born to Katherine and Leonard Pickitt July 30, 1933 in the little town of Teague, Texas and grew up in another small town, Gilmer, Texas. He attended Kilgore Junior College before entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, in 1951. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in 1955. He earned a Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1961. He also completed Air Command and Staff College in 1965 and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1973 along with an extended course at the Kennedy School at Harvard on Nationaland International Security Management.
John was a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours in 6 different fighter aircraft. He flew 161 combat missions out of Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, 100 of them over North Vietnam as an F-4 aircraft commander. The list of John’s 23 assignments at many bases in the States and overseas in his 32 years of service to his country, his many decorations and service awards along with his time in industry as CEO of Computer and Business Equipment Manufacturers Assn (later the Council of Information Technology Industry) could fill a dozen obituaries. The boy
from a small farming community, raised by school-teacher parents with a wonderful younger sister, Kathy - all of whom predeceased him - went on to earn the rank of three-star general managing thousands of people and millions of dollars in resources.
John loved golf, fishing and hunting and above all trap shooting. He has shot more than 370,000 registered targets and was 8 times All American.
John is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Mary, his devoted children, son John and daughter-in-law Karen, his daughter Patti Farmer, and as beloved Pop-pop by grandchildren Kailey and Trevor Pickitt, Kate and John Christian Farmer. The family wishes to extend sincere appreciation to all the caregivers who provided him with warm and respectful care at the Stewart Center of The Cypress.
A good man who lived a good life, John is remembered with great love and admiration by his family, his many friends and those with whom he served. John lived in every way, every moment of his life, the West Point pledge of “Duty, Honor, Country!”