Billy Allen Bickford, 61, 636 Church St., Almond, died unexpectedly at his home on Monday, Dec. 23, 2002.
A funeral service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at Guardian Angels Church, Almond.
Visitation is 5-8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. until service time Saturday at the church. Father Dan Farley, a personal friend of Bill’s, will officiate. Hardell-Holly Funeral Home, Almond, is assisting with arrangements.
Memorial donations will be used to establish a fund for rebuilding the shelter house at the Almond Lions Park.
Mr. Bickford was born March 16, 1941, in Maquoketa, Iowa, son of the late Ernest Bickford and Leitha (Barkley) Bickford. He married Santha Betts on June 1, 1958, in Lost Nation, Iowa. He retired from the Army in 1978 after serving 20 years. Most of his career was spent as a member of Special Forces Units (Green Berets), including two tours of duty in Vietnam. His last assignment was as an ROTC advisor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Upon retirement, Mr. Bickford devoted much time to being a foster parent. After several years, he launched a new career as an auctioneer which culminated in a partnership with Mike Bloedorn of Blaine and the development of B&B Auction Service Inc. in Almond.
At the time of his death, Mr. Bickford was president of the Almond Lions Club, and a member of the American Legion, Almond Rod & Gun Club, Ducks Unlimited, Wild Turkey Federation, the Wisconsin Auctioneers Association and the Special Forces Association. He previously served as president of the Almond Village Board, was a member of the Almond Volunteer Fire Department and was a member of the Little Wolf River Sportman’s Club.
His parents and two sisters, Lois Yaddoff and Marilyn Hirons, preceded him in death.
Survivors include his wife, Santha Bickford, Almond; three sons, Marc (Kris) Bickford, Wautoma, Matthew Bickford (special friend, Wendy Crahan), Bancroft, and Joel (Vicki) Bickford, Wahpeton, N.D.; one daughter, Dana (Tim) Cyra, Junction City; a brother, Leroy (Rosemary) Bickford, Maquoketa; three sisters, Doris Yaddoff, Maquoketa, Janice Mohr, Bettendorf, and Margie (Carl) Stender, White Cloud, Minn.; 12 grandchildren, Brianna Bickford, Jessa Tipton, Rebecca Bickford, Marcus Bickford, Rachel Bickford, Jason Bickford, Garrett Bickford, Brant Bickford, Kaia Bickford, Mackenzie Bickford, Tanner Bickford, and Matthew Cyra; and many special nieces and nephews. Survivors also include previous foster children, Paul Rayome, Mike Fletcher, Shane Winters and Dale Dominick, who have stayed in touch with the Bickfords throughout their adult lives.