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Obituary: Thomas E. “T.E.” Bickham, Jr. – Football 39-42, Track 40-43, Veteran – May 16, 2014

"T.E." a resident of Plaquemine and a native of Homer, LA, passed away peacefully on May 16, 2014 surrounded by his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and their spouses. He was 93 years old, born on Nov. 6, 1920 to Ola Lee and Thomas E. Bickham, Sr. He was preceded in death by his brother James, and sisters Ruth and Mary. He was a great athlete in high school and was recruited by every college from LSU to Michigan. He signed with Southwestern, now UL in 1938 where he was a three year All American in football. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles at the same time that WWII broke out. He joined the 8th Army Air Corps and became a bomber pilot. He flew 25 missions over Germany, and was shot down twice. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice. Before leaving for England in WWII, he married the love of his life, Audrey Begue. Their marriage lasted 61 years until her death on April 10, 2005. They had five children, a daughter Becky Sue Bickham. Four sons and daughters-in-law; Tommy and Shirley, Harry and Cyndy, Dickey and Susan, Rod and Robin Bickham. Thirteen grandchildren; David, Laura, LeAnne, Clint, Brad, Thomas, Richard, Sarah, Chase, and Alex Bickham and T. Mike, Cy, and Kristin Maronge. Plus, Seventeen great-grandchildren with another on the way. He received his B.S. degree from Southwestern and Masters plus 30 from LSU. After the war he helped start the McNeese football program and won the National Junior College Championship as their boxing coach. He came to Plaquemine in 1947 where he taught and coached for many years until he became a Supervisor. After retirement, he was a school board member for 21 years. He was a member of the VFW, American Legion, UL Hall of Fame, Blue Key Honor’s Society and a former member of the Lion’s Club, KC’s, and Jaycees. Pallbearers will be his Grandsons. We received a quote from his nephew, Thomas E. Sawyer P.H.D. that read; "A wise man once suggested that we must not allow the clock and calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle. Life itself is a miracle, and surely the fact that we shall live forever is no greater miracle than that we live at all; and surely that we shall come forth from the grave is no greater miracle than that we first came forth by birth. The resurrection of Jesus the Christ, through whom we are all heirs to everlasting life, is a basic tenant of Christianity. The same power that gave us life at birth has given us life hereafter. And even though our loved ones depart, and even though we shall surely follow, there will never be a time when we shall not have a future to look forward to. Beyond the limits of our present perspective, there will be endless purposes and pursuits, for life is a journey, and not a destination; a journey on which the planning of our Beloved Savior will enable us to again walk with those we love – those who await us on the way." In lieu of flowers, the family request that a donation be sent to either

, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or St. John Catholic Church, 57805 Main St, Plaquemine, LA 70764. Visitation will be at Wilbert Funeral Home in Plaquemine on Monday, May 19th from 5-8pm and on Tuesday, May 20th at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Plaquemine from noon until the Mass of Christian Burial at 2:00pm, celebrated by Father Greg Daigle. Please share sympathies, condolences, and memories online at www.wilbertservices.com.

Funeral Home
Wilbert Funeral Home – Plaquemine
24120 Railroad Avenue  Plaquemine, LA 70764
Published in TheAdvocate.com from May 17 to May 19, 2014

Submitted by Becky Sue, daughter.