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J. Ralph Bickley

February 12, 1917 - January 31, 2012

J. Ralph Bickley, 94, a retired independent insurance agent, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012, at a Fort Worth hospice.

A graveside service will be at 11 a.m. Friday in Greenwood Memorial Park. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Friday at John Knox Presbyterian Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts ma…read more

J. Ralph Bickley, 94, a retired independent insurance agent, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012, at a Fort Worth hospice.

A graveside service will be at 11 a.m. Friday in Greenwood Memorial Park. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Friday at John Knox Presbyterian Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to John Knox Presbyterian Church, 4350 River Oaks Blvd., River Oaks, Texas 76114; Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, 2222 Welborn St., Dallas, Texas 75219-3993; or a charity of choice.

A Texas native, Ralph was born Feb. 12, 1917, in Tyler to William D. and Emma Fuller Bickley. He attended and graduated from Tyler High School and attended Tyler Junior College for two years. He continued living and working in Tyler until entering World War II as an ensign in the U.S. Navy Air Service in 1942. His basic training took place in Fort Worth, where he met Thelma Larkin who later became his wife. His next tour of duty was at Naval Air Station Dallas, then to the Naval Air Station New Orleans, La. In New Orleans he trained to become a flight instructor. Upon completion of training he received his pilot’s wings and was assigned to Naval Air Station Norman, Okla., to instruct cadets who were beginning their training to become Navy pilots. After about 2 1/2 years he was transferred to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., to train flying multi-engine aircraft.

In the fall of 1945, Lt. Bickley was discharged, and he and Thelma returned to his home in Tyler. In 1946 they moved to Fort Worth and he began working at Consolidated Vultee Aircraft while attending Texas Christian University, where he graduated in 1951.

After graduation, Ralph began a career in the insurance business. In 1959 he became associated with the Dubose, Rutledge and Miller Agency and later became a partner. He continued in the insurance business until retiring in 1998.

Ralph was a longtime member of John Knox Presbyterian Church where he served in the chancel choir and as chair of the pastor search committee, ordained elder and liturgist. He served in various capacities in the Presbytery and was selected to be a commissioner from our Presbytery to the General Assembly.

Mr. Bickley was active in civic affairs in Fort Worth. He served as president of the North Fort Worth Business Association, was elected to the River Oaks City Council, past president of Rotary Club of Fort Worth North, chairman, North Branch of YMCA, and a member of the original Stockyards Area Restoration Committee that was appointed in 1972 by then-Mayor Sharkey Stovall.

Ralph served as president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Tarrant County and on the membership committee of the Independent Insurance Agents Association of Texas. He was a member of Fort Worth Masonic Lodge #148 AF&AM, Fort Worth Chapter and Council, Fort Worth Scottish Rite Bodies and Moslah Temple Shrine.

Ralph was preceded in death by his first wife, Thelma Larkin Bickley, and a brother, Clyde M. Bickley.

In 1994, Ralph married Caroline Z. Bales and they moved to Arlington and later to Kennedale.

Survivors include his wife, Caroline; son, Jim and wife, Barbara, of Giddings; daughter, Susan Hadley Lugo and husband, Art, of Ingleside; stepsons, Barry Krieger of Austin and Lon Krieger and wife, Brenda, of Wimberley; stepdaughter, Dee Ann Couche and husband, Bob, of Dublin, Ohio; granddaughter, Jessica Bickley of Houston; grandsons, Steven and Garrett Couche of Dublin, Ohio; and several cousins, nieces and nephews.

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