I wanted to share this obituary of Oliver J. "Porky" Bickar. I believe he is the grandson of John Frederick Bickar and Ida Elizabeth Conne. I believe that John Frederick Bickar was the son of John B Bickar & Barbary Hengstberger
Services for Oliver John "Porky" Bickar, a Sitka resident for 43 years, will be held at noon Monday, August 18, 2003, at Sitka Lutheran Church.
A graveside military service will follow at Sitka National Cemetery, with a reception to be held afterward at the Elks Lodge.
He was born Nov. 1, 1923, in Chehalis, Wash., one on 11 children of Anthony Mathias and Pauline (Raubuch) Bickar. The family moved to Brooklyn, Washington in 1939, and he lived there until moving to Sitka in 1960.
Bickar joined the army after graduating from Brooklyn High School in 1942. He was sent to England, and in 1944 took part in the allied invasion at Normandy. At a Memorial Day service in Anchorage two years ago he was awarded the Normandy Medal of the Jubilee of Liberty, a French medal honoring the American veterans of the D-Day invasion.
After the war he went to work in the logging industry in Washington, running a loading donkey for several years before becoming a feller.
He met Patricia Roberts, a high school teacher in Brooklyn, and they were married in Newport, Wash., on Aug. 20, 1950.
Their first two children, David and Christianne, were born in Washington and their third child, Brian, was born after they moved to Sitka in 1960, where Porky worked for the Barton and Reynvaan Logging Co. He was very proud of his record of cutting more board feet of timber in one year than any other logger had ever done.
After that job ended in 1964 he went into business in Sitka as Porky's Equipment Inc., selling and servicing logging gear and doing general contracting. For years of community service he later received the Sitka Chamber of Commerce's highest award, the Cossack Cap.
He loved to hunt and fish, and for many years made moose hunting trips to the Yukon Territory in Canada.
He was an active member of the Alaska Loggers Association, Sitka Elks Lodge, the American Legion and Sitka Lutheran Church.
He was co-chairman of the All-Alaska Logging Championships for many years, and was famous for his ending act - felling the spar tree so it would hit a target on the ground, usually a hard hat.
A man with a great sense of fun and enjoyment of life, Bickar was known throughout the state and beyond for the pranks he and his fellow "Dirty Dozen" pulled on each other.
His most famous stunt was staging an April Fool "eruption" of the dormant Mt. Edgecumbe volcano. He arranged for a stack of old tires to be flown by helicopter into the basin of the Kruzof Island mountain. On April 1, 1974, the tires were doused with oil and set alight to create the illusion of a smoky eruption.
"We'd planned it for three years, and just waited for an April Fool's Day when it was clear out and not raining like hell," Bickar said in an interview in the Sentinel a couple of years ago.
"When I got up that morning and I could see the mountain, I said, 'I have to go do it today,'" he remembered. "Patty knew exactly what I was talking about. 'Well, just don't make an ass of yourself,' she said. She often said that to me."
The stunt entered the folklore of Alaska, and he enjoyed the fame it brought him. Years later he told about the card he got in 1980 from a man in Denver he had never met, enclosing a newspaper photo of Washington's Mt. Saint Helens erupting.
The note said, "This time you've gone too far."
Mr. Bickar was a talented self-taught artist, creating works of art with a cutting torch and shop tools. Using a section of the 48-inch diameter pipe left over from construction of the Alaska oil pipeline, he fashioned heavy steel outline maps of Alaska, with brass insets and engraving to identify the principal cities and features.
He never sold them, but presented them to friends and organizations in appreciation for their contributions to Sitka. His metal cutout of a moose at Swan Lake, and a firefighter sculpture displayed in front of the fire hall were among his other labors of love.
He was preceded in death by four of his brothers, Herbert, Andrew, Robert and Louis.
Survivors include his wife Patty of Sitka; sons David Bickar of Florence, Mass., and Brian Bickar of Sitka; daughter Christianne Bickar of Glendale, Ariz; and grandchildren Keilin and Laurel Bickar of Florence, Mass., Skye Bickar of Glendale, Ariz., and Teagan and August Bickar of Sitka.
He also is survived by brothers William Bickar of Montesano, Wash.; James Bickar of Toledo, Wash., and Lawrence Bickar of Oakville, Wash.; sisters Virginia Osborn of Napavine, Wash.; Gloria Wagner of Montesano, Wash., and Joy Dignam of Stanwood, Wash.; and sister-in-law Marie Bickar of Aberdeen, Wash.
Pallbearers will be Leo Evans, Jeff Giefer, Troy Baynes, Lloyd Swanson, Duane Swanson and Myron Oen.
Honorary pallbearers are Ken Hammons, Kenny Malpus, Pat Welsh, Larry McCrehin, Jerome Mahoskey and Jon Lawrance.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to "The Path of Hope Project," Sitka Cancer Survivors Society, P.O. Box 1623, Sitka, AK 99835.