Frank Maltby Pickens

Frank Maltby Pickens


Frank Maltby Pickens, 98, was called to his Savior on September 19th, 2022, after a brief battle with cancer. Frank was born August 10, 1924, in Greentop, Missouri.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Maurice Lester Pickens and Beulah Maltby Pickens; his wife of 52 years, Leah Mae Burkhart Pickens; and his sister, Lilah Faye Farmer. He is survived by his sister, Maurine Crawford, and dear friend, Donna Zurcher, as well as his son Maurice Allen Pickens (Jackie) and daughters LeeAnne Smith Holliday (Jim), Kathleen Milburn (Craig), Janie Lynn Fouch (David), and Beth Ellen Murray (Rodney). Frank was blessed with 14 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great grandchild as well as six nephews and two nieces.

He received his early education at Trinity and Sperry Schools in Greentop, Ophelia Parrish Junior High, and Kirksville High School and earned bachelor and master’s degrees from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State.) Frank served three years in the Navy (1943-1946) and two years in the Army during the Korean War (1950-1951).

His family often referred to Frank as the “Renaissance Man” because of his broad range of interests and abilities. After extensive travels in the military, he spent 7 years in education serving as a teacher and administrator in Keokuk, Iowa. By then, he was ready for a change and returned to northeast Missouri to farm near his childhood home in Sperry. Although he greatly enjoyed farming, he realized that land ownership was the most profitable aspect of rural life so he earned his broker’s license and opened his own real estate company, Crossroads Realty. After several years in the real estate business, Frank was led to his most important vocation of all. His Bible reading convinced him that the Word of God was surely the most important treasure one could possess, and he began his fourth and final career as a lay minister in the United Methodist Church. Many of his sermons were recorded and from time to time, family members still listen to them in search of insight and inspiration.

Frank was a family man and was much loved by the little ones in the family. You could always count on his grandchildren and great grandchildren to put a grin on his face. He came from a musical family and graced many occasions with his beautiful voice. On his 98th birthday after the family sang a rousing “Happy Birthday” and “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” he joined them in singing a favorite hymn, “To God Be the Glory.” He also loved to dance, and he and Leah enjoyed square dancing with their friends. In addition to his musical gifts, Frank was a creative and talented artist, excelling in oil paintings as well as bigger than life rebar sculptures (such as “The Running Man & Pig”).

Frank was an auctioneer and enjoyed sales of all kinds—from flea markets to estate sales. His children fondly recall his many “finds;” on one occasion, he bought a “going out of business” store’s complete inventory of pajamas, paint, and mug trees! He had his own flea market booth of assorted treasures at Rutledge for several years. Frank was also known as a shrewd card player. If you were at his bridge or pitch table, you would definitely want to be his partner rather than his opponent!

Frank was always on the forefront of new technologies, especially for the farm. In his farming years, he worked on the Rural Water Board to get city water out to the rural areas. More recently, he educated himself on solar and wind power and was excited to welcome two towering wind turbines to his land in rural Adair County. As “The Renaissance Man,” future technologies held great promise.

Frank will be missed by all who loved him. But we can all take great comfort and even joy in the fact that Frank knew “Whose” he was and that even now he is in the blessed presence of His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Family and friends are invited to a celebration of life service for Frank at Fort Madison Cemetery on Saturday, September 24th, at 11:00 a.m. A light luncheon will follow at noon in the Faith Lutheran School gymnasium, 1820 S. Baltimore Street, in Kirksville.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that Frank be remembered by a purposeful act of kindness or a donation to your favorite charity.

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