Bickham, Sis obit and web

Bickham, Sis web only

Verna Mae “Sis” Bickham passed away peacefully at home on February 6, 2020. She was surrounded by family and care givers.

Born Verna Mae Louise Stech on October 12, 1931 to August Franz Stech and Martha Henrietta Bues Stech, in Orange Grove, Texas, she grew up on the family farm with thirteen siblings. Despite being one of seven daughters in the family, she was the one the family routinely called “sister” or “sis”.  Though life on the farm was filled with hard work, she fondly reminisced throughout her life about her childhood on the farm.

Sis attended Orange Grove High School and in addition to the requisite farm chores, she was heavily involved in extra-curricular activities at school. She was a cheerleader and a member of the FHA club, the Annual staff (Bulldog Bark Staff), and the Glee club as well as being voted “Best All-Around Girl” her junior year and “Class Favorite” her senior year.  Sis was also quite the athlete as she made the Volleyball A Team as a Junior and Senior.

On June 17, 1949, she married James Oscar Bickham and they settled in Calallen on Bickham Road where Oscar built their houses. While she and Oscar were building two houses, they also were building a family of five children.  It was the family building project in which Sis took the most pride.   The children took after their mother and were heavily involved in school and extra-curricular activities.  Because of their activities, Sis spent twenty-seven consecutive years reviewing homework, attending PTA meetings, school plays, band competitions, track meets, basketball games, football games, baseball games, and much more.

Though the children kept her busy with their activities, Sis and Oscar spent the early part of their marriage playing softball and would travel all over south Texas playing softball on the weekends. Later, Sis would join a women’s bowling league and she spent several years playing both the fall and spring leagues.  When she was not competing on the softball diamond or the bowling lanes, you would find her outside tending her spring and fall gardens or her yard and flowerbeds.  She often remarked that she would rather be working outside, regardless of the temperature, than sitting inside the house. Sis derived her greatest recreational joy from country and western dancing.  She grew up attending dances at the Orange Grove Rifle Club with her entire family.  After she and Oscar were married, they both continued to attend dances at the Rifle Club as well as the Robstown Community Hall.

As her children began to move away, she and Oscar opened their home to their ever-growing collection of grandchildren and ultimately great-grandchildren. Their smiles, laughter, and shouts brought her much joy as she and Oscar enjoyed their new roles as grandparents.  Countless pies, cookies, cakes, and bowls of ice cream were consumed around the kitchen table by their growing family and numerous counts of discipline were disbursed when needed.  And when one grandchild’s birthday rolled around, Sis couldn’t help herself and would often send birthday gifts to the child’s siblings as well.  Birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or just any random Wednesday would be an occasion for her to send a card or small gift.

We will sorely miss Sis but we take tremendous solace in the fact that she is residing with the Lord and her struggle on this earth is over.

Sis was preceded in death by her parents, August and Martha; sisters, Dora, Emma, Lillie, Hilda, Gertrude “Tootie” and Matilda (Butch); brothers, Herbert, Ed, Augie, Bill, Adolf, Bob, and Marvin; husband, Oscar; son, Kyle; daughter, Becky, and son Charlie.

Sis is survived by two sons, John (Kathy) Bickham of New Canaan, CT, and Bruce (Dara) Bickham of Richardson, TX; eleven grandchildren, Katelyn Bickham, Jordan Bickham, Kristi (Rick) Arthur, Weston Bickham, Kassie (John) Martin, Jason Cheek, Shauna (Chuck) Hill, Darin Cheek, Gray Bickham, Dru Bickham, and Kinsey Bickham; and seven great grandchildren, Max Blakenbaker, Jakob Martin, Denham Cheek, Dallan Cheek, Haley Cheek, Layla Jae Adair, and Leighton Hill.

Pallbearers will be Weston Bickham, Jason Cheek, Darin Cheek, Gray Bickham, Spencer Davis, and Brad Davis.

Visitation will be held at Sawyer-George Funeral Home, Wednesday, February 12, 2020 from 5-7 p.m. Funeral services will be held at Sawyer-George Funeral Home, Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.  A private burial service will follow at Rose Hill Memorial Park.

The family would like to thank Carla Trevino, Angel Care Services and New Century Hospice for their ministries of care to Sis and the Bickham family.