Joan Elizabeth Bicksler, a Pomona resident for 37 years, died peacefully at home on July 2, 2016 of brain cancer. She was 73.
She was born June 8, 1943 in Pottstown, Pennsylvania to Robert and Josephine Eppehimer, the oldest of five daughters. She graduated from Owen J. Roberts High School in Pottstown in 1961 and attended Pottstown Business School. She married Fred Bicksler in 1966 and they moved to South Carolina, where she was employed at Clemson University while Fred completed his degree.
Over the next 10 years the couple moved frequently, eventually coming to Los Angeles in 1978 and settling in Pomona. Though they thought it wouldn’t be a permanent move, the family remained and Mrs. Bicksler immersed herself in Claremont activities. She was actively involved in her son and daughter’s schools, volunteering in the classroom and with the PTA. She took great interest in their extra-curricular doings as well, serving as a Cub Scout den mother and volunteering with the Girl Scouts, Little League and band boosters as well as serving as a Sunday school teacher. Joan also pursued many interests of her own, including Tupperware sales, religious studies, needlepoint, rubber-stamping and cardmaking.
In addition to volunteering, Mrs. Bicksler was employed as an office assistant at Sumner Elementary in Claremont in 1984. She transitioned to working for the Claremont Adult School where she served as media clerk, office manager and registrar until her retirement in 2008. A very detailed and conscientious employee, she took pride in her work, making sure everyone was taken care of and all the i’s were dotted and t’s crossed. A friend to many, both at the workplace and during her personal time, she enjoyed discussing life over tea, catching a movie with a friend, shopping, cooking new foods—purple mashed cauliflower, anyone?—corresponding and visiting with friends and family across the country. Mostly, she enjoyed taking care of others and being a great listener.
The births of her three grandchildren were major highlights in her later life. With just one extended family member within a day’s drive, she was thrilled to see her local family grow. She was known as Grammy Bix, even to the grandchildren of friends. Favorite times with her grandchildren included Lego-building, shopping, lunch dates, LA Arboretum walks and attending their school events. An A-plus speller, Mrs. Bicksler loved Scrabble, brain teasers and playing games on her iPhone—she enjoyed the modern conveniences! A Pennsylvania girl at heart, trips back east to visit family were cherished. Christmas was always a favorite time, with Joan often commenting that she “could listen to Christmas music year-round.” She’d stay up all hours to wrap each package just right.
She struggled after the death of her parents some time ago, and spent a great deal of time and effort coming to terms with her perceived shortcomings. Joan was thankful to be able to lean on friends during this time. While never fully at peace, her love for others shone through and she continued to give of herself, as was her nature.
Mrs. Bicksler will be remembered for her kind manner, her constant striving to better herself, her paper towel obsession, her laughter at funny movies and tears at sad ones, her enjoyment of jelly bellies, her delicious chocolate chip bread and her love for her family….oh, and her kitchen gadgets.
Mrs. Bicksler’s loved ones thank her friends and family for their advice, support and love through the unimaginable five months of her illness. “Thank you to those who kept in touch as she moved about the country, missing her family and home state very much, while making wonderful new friends along the way,” family shared.
She is survived by her husband Fred, children Leah Lopez (Ray) and Tom Bicksler, both of Fullerton, and grandchildren Benjamin and Gabriel Lopez and Isabella Gasparian, as well as her sisters and many nieces and nephews.
Services will be held on Friday, July 22 at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Name of Mary Church, located at 724 E. Bonita Ave. in San Dimas.