John Earnest “Jack” Pickett Jr.

John Earnest “Jack” Pickett Jr.

New Hope, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 6 Apr 2010 (aged 85)
Dover, Kent County, Delaware, USA
Burial Odessa, New Castle County, Delaware, USA
Memorial ID 12912502 · View Source
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John passed away at the age of 85 years in the Courtland Manor Home, Dover, Delaware after battling Alzheimer's for many years.

John "always" insisted he middle name was " Earnest " and not " Ernest ". While dealing with Alzheimer's he got on the subject once again and became quite upset about no one, including his wife, believing him ...... He got up from his chair and walked away. He soon came back with his birth certificate in hand and said, " See what that says .... E A R N E S T ! ..... Just like my Dad's ". All these year ...... and he was right ! And so, however, his headstone is wrong .....

He attended all his schooling in New Hope, Pa. where he graduated from New Hope High School in 1942.

Jack then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on March 2, 1943 and went to basic training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

He served as a corporal & leader of his squad in the 5th Engineer Battalion, 5th Marine Division in the Pacific theater. His duty assignment, and that of his squad, was explosives.

One of the members of his squad was then Pfc, and later Col. Charles H. Waterhouse.  Col. Waterhouse became the only official artist-in-residence of the U.S. Marine Corps until his passing. Col. Waterhouse & Corporal John E. Pickett maintained there friendship until Jack's passing.

During a practice exercise at Camp Tarawa in Hawaii Jack and a new member of his squad set some live dynamite. When they tried to activate it ... nothing happened. The other soldier, figuring it was a dud, started out toward the dynamite. Jack called him to come back and he didn't. Jack then ran after him, grabbed him by the arm to pull him away from the danger, and at that moment it exploded. The other soldier lost his leg and Jack, luckily, only injured his hand. Jack had saved the soldier's life and they also maintained a friendship for years to come.

The other soldier may have also, however, saved Jack's life as well. Jack's unit, while he was in the hospital, was shipped out to the battle of Iwo Jima.

Jack was later released from the hospital and served as part of the occupation forces in Japan with the 2nd Marine Engineers, 2nd Marine Division.

After his marriage he and "Ginny" moved to Lancaster, PA so that Jack could attended Millersville State Teachers College in Millersville, PA. where he graduated with his Bachelors degree in Industrial Arts in 1949. Their first son John, III was born while they lived in Lancaster.

After his graduation from college he then moved to High Street in Odessa, Delaware due to obtaining a position as a teacher in Warner Junior High School in Wilmington, DE.

He later moved into a home that he built by himself on Cantwell Avenue, also in Odessa, Delaware.

He was one of the founding members of the MOT Little League in Middletown, Delaware where he managed a team call the "Corvettes" for 10 years. During those ten years his team came in 1st place for 9 years and 2nd place the other year. One year he lead the MOT all-star team to within 2 games of the Little League World Series.

Jack taught shop at Warner until he became the Vice Principal of Brown Vo-Tech School also in Wilmington. In 1968 He received his Master's degree in Educational Administration from the University of Delaware.

He became the first "white" principal of "Howard High School" in Wilmington, Delaware in 1978. Howard High was previously the only "black" high school in Wilmington.

Because of his extraordinary way of handling Howard High he was later named "Man Of The Year" by the all "black men's" Monday Club, of Wilmington, Delaware. He was the first non-black man to received such an honor.

In addition to his exemplary record of service as a professional educator, John also served on the Appoquinimink School District's Board of Education for 19 years, 15 of which he served as President. He was President of the Delaware School Board Association in 1980.

Over the years he also worked part time at the Jewish Community Center, Men's Prison at Prices Corner, and at the Governor Bacon Health Center in Delaware City, Delaware and was a member of the Lion's Club.

After his retirement he quickly became a noted carver of birds (see photo to the right) with many of his carvings winning competitions.

Son of John Earnest Pickett, Sr. and Winnie Ann (Bacon) Pickett.

Paternal Grandson of Jacob Dunlap Pickett & Eleanor Minerva (Smith) Pickett.

Maternal Grandson of William Bacon & Anna Savina (Whittich) Bacon.

Husband of Emma Virginia (Stout) Pickett. They were married August 26, 1946 at Saint Anne's Episcopal church in Lambertville, NJ.

Dad of John Ernest Pickett, III and his wife Tammy, and Russell Stout Pickett and his wife Karen.


Family Members


  • Created by: Russ Pickett
  • Added: 6 Jan 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 12912502
  • Russ Pickett
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Earnest “Jack” Pickett Jr. (21 Apr 1924–6 Apr 2010), Find a Grave Memorial no. 12912502, citing Old Drawyers Church Cemetery, Odessa, New Castle County, Delaware, USA ; Maintained by Russ Pickett (contributor 46575736) .