Kenneth Wayne Dickerson, Navy Veteran, attorney, retired Judge and part-time farmer and rancher passed away on May 30th, 2020. Ken was born on January 21, 1939, and raised on a farm north of Piedmont, the youngest of four children. Ken’s father Floyd Dickerson passed away when Ken was twelve, leaving the farm work to Ken and his brother. Without his Dad to provide guidance, many of Ken’s life decisions were made without much counsel. Ken graduated from Piedmont High School in 1957 and joined a friend for a summer job at an Oil Refinery in Borger, Texas. During that summer, Ken made his first decision that would set his future into motion: return to Edmond, OK, and enroll in college. His dedication and motivation propelled him through education at Central State University while he worked nights.
After completing three semesters of college, Ken made his second life-changing decision: he joined the Navy in January 1959 and went to boot camp in San Diego, CA. Following boot camp and a Class "A" school course of administration, he received his first Navy assignment at the US Navy Headquarters in San Diego for 13 months. During this tour, Ken played basketball and softball and won numerous championships. After the tour in San Diego, Ken was transferred to the US Navy Advisory Group in Seoul, Korea where the group acted as advisors to the Korean Navy and officed out of the Korean Navy Headquarters. From Korea, Ken was transferred to the naval ship USS TULARE in San Diego. After a short time on the ship, Ken became ill and spent several months at the Balboa Navy Hospital. He then transferred to another ship, the USS COOK. Soon thereafter President Kennedy declared a blockade of Cuba and the platoon of UDT men (new Seals) headed for Cuba through the Panama Canal. Thankfully, the matter was settled upon arrival and the crew took some time off at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Once the ship made a final return to San Diego, Ken was honorably discharged and he returned to Enid, OK.
Ken continued his studies at Phillips University, earning his Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Ken went on active duty an additional 18 months serving as a Naval recruiter while attending college. During this time, he was promoted to E-6. While thinking about the decision to further his education, Ken met and married Jan Hand, the love of his life. He worked for Sears, Roebuck & Co. in credit management before making the third decision that would change the path of his future: he enrolled in Oklahoma City University School of Law. Ken served Oklahoma citizens for over 30 years. He worked as an Attorney from 1972 – 1988, a Special District Judge for Canadian County from 1988 – 1993, an Associate District Judge from 1993 - 2002, and a volunteer Appellate Judge for the Oklahoman Court of Criminal Appeals. Ken was most proud of helping start the Canadian County Family Drug Court. District Judge Ed Cunningham described the characteristics of Ken as "Patient yet decisive, compassionate yet firm, studious and always striving for excellence." Ken was respectfully referred to as "The Senior Judge of the District Court of Canadian County." He encouraged young law students as an advisor at various Mock Trials.
Ken was also dedicated to his hometown of Piedmont. He served as City Attorney, City Councilman, Vice-Mayor, and Mayor of Piedmont. He also assisted with writing the City Charter on the Board of Freeholders for the City of Piedmont. Ken was the co-owner, editor, and wrote sports articles for the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette, winning "Best Editorial" at the State Fair of Oklahoma. The Piedmont Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Citizen of the Month in 1986 and he acted as the Master of Ceremonies in multiple local events and celebrations. He supported Piedmont Public Schools as the Board of Education Attorney and the voice of the Piedmont Wildcats football team, announcing games for 27 years. His outstanding volunteer services to their sports programs were acknowledged with 1980 and 1984 Sportsman of the Year Awards. Ken brought honor to his fellow Veterans as he worked diligently to open the Piedmont Veterans Center. Ken’s dedication and service to his town resulted in his election to the Piedmont Hall of Fame.
Ken and Jan raised their two children, John and Dia, in Piedmont. The family enjoyed the quiet, close-knit rural life that Piedmont offered. They were devoted members of the Piedmont United Methodist Church and also helped care for Kansas Cemetery east of Piedmont. Ken is preceded in death by his wife of 48 years, Jan Dickerson, parents Floyd and Blanche (Johnson) Dickerson, sister Alice Mehlig, sister Thelma Dickerson, brother Jerry Dickerson and grandson Aaron Hendrix. Ken is survived by his son John Dickerson of Edmond; daughter Dia Bayer and son-in-law Jon Bayer of Piedmont; grandchildren Harlee Dickerson of Los Angeles, Hayden and Emily Teeman of Edmond, and Hayden and Makenna Hendrix of Piedmont; sister- in-law Lois Dickerson of Piedmont; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Ken Dickerson’s life will be celebrated on Friday, June 5, 2020, at 10 AM at Piedmont United Methodist Church with burial to follow at Kansas Cemetery. Visitation will take place on Thursday, June 4th from 9 AM – 8 PM at Ingram, Smith & Turner Mortuary in Yukon, OK. The family will be at the funeral home from 10 AM to 2 PM on Thursday to greet friends. Social Distancing regulations will be upheld and allows for limited seating at the service. The funeral service will be available live stream, recorded and posted.
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