Donald F. Pickard, 86, of Oak Park, died peacefully at home with family by his side on May 2, 2022. Born in Rushville, Illinois on Nov. 25, 1935. The younger of two brothers, he grew up in Littleton, where his family owned and operated Pickard & Son, Groceries. He attended Knox College in Galesburg, where he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, served in the ROTC, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. While at Knox he met his first wife, Joan. Following graduation in 1957 the couple married and moved to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he completed his basic training in the U.S. Airborne, Infantry Officer’s Basic Course. He rose to the rank of First Lieutenant and served until 1959 when he went to work in Chicago with Illinois Bell Telephone Company, where he held many positions. A master of public relations and speech writing, his gift for words was instrumental during the break-up of the Bell System in the early 1980s. He eventually became assistant vice president with Ameritech and retired in 1990. 

A great believer in the arts, he served on the board of Chicago’s Auditorium Theater during the 1980s and was an active member of Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church for over 50 years, where he served as a deacon, as well as an elder.  Following the death of his first wife, Joan, he was blessed with meeting his wife, Roylene. They were married in 1983 and were devoted to each other for 40 years.

He loved fishing, swimming in his backyard pool, telling bad jokes, and his beloved Knox College. He loved time spent with family and always had a prized piece of advice, a good story to tell and a dry sense of humor.

Don was the father of Sharon (Gary) Evans and Karen (Kent) Bromley; stepfather of Steven Murray, Cari Kremer (Doug) and Debora Panza; grandpa to 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Jack (Janice) Pickard, and seven nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his late wife, Joan Pickard (nee Christiansen); his parents, Francis L. and Muriel Pickard (nee Little) and his stepson, H. James “Jimmy” Murray III.  

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 27 at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church, 744 Fair Oaks Ave., Oak Park.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Angelman Syndrome Foundation ( or National Multiple Sclerosis Society (

Funeral arrangements were handled by Peterson-Bassi Chapels.

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