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John K. Bickham

January 3, 1931 ~ August 14, 2021 (age 90)

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John Kelly Bickham passed away at his home on Saturday, August 14, 2021, with his beloved wife and daughter at his side.

Kelly was born January 3, 1931 to Ben and Thelma Bickham at their family home in Calallen, Texas. He grew up surrounded by his four brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and the extended Bickham family. After graduating from Calallen High School, Kelly was proud to serve his country in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Alameda, CA for active duty. When he returned home, he remained in the Reserves and joined the family business, Bickham's Grocery in Calallen. Bickham's Grocery was always a gathering place for Bickhams of all generations, family, friends, and the Calallen community. So many wonderful memories remain in our hearts of the years of Kelly at Bickham's Grocery. He would later co-own the Texaco Consignee in Robstown with his brother-in-law, Cloyd Wheeler.

Kelly met the love of his life in March of 1953, Velma Deane Burton of Robstown. They married the following August and have been happily married for nearly 68 years. Kelly loved hunting his entire life. He started at an early age with his brothers, uncles, and cousins. He shared that love with his son, John, and later with his grandsons and sons-in-law. Most of all, Kelly loved spending time with his family and friends.

Kelly was preceded in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Bickham; his brothers, Bob Bickham, Jim Bickham and Joe Mack Bickham; his son, John Bickham; his daughter, Debora Bingham; his grandson, Drew Bingham, his son-in-law, Darrell Bingham.

He is survived by his brother, Pat (Glen Ann) Bickham; his loving wife, Velma; his daughter, Brenda (Ken) Smith; his granddaughter, Layne Kelly Smith; his grandsons, Justin (Becky) Flores and Derek (Kristin) Bingham; his five great-grandsons; his extended family and friends.

A special thank you to all of Kelly’s caregivers: to Carla Trevino, for all of her loving care and support and to Lucy Franco, Irma Davila and Theresa Hernandez for their wonderful care over the last two months.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that you make a donation in Kelly’s memory to the Christopher Reeve Foundation, christopherreeve.org. or Allie’s Haven Animal Rescue, allieshaven.org, or a charity of your choice.


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