Paul Preston Pickens of Bethel Springs, Tennessee, was born Oct. 12, 1949, in Birmingham, Alabama, the youngest of six children. He was raised by his mother, Mary Sue Elkins Pickens, who was also his hero. He was a forestry consultant and timber buyer for himself and Mark Roach Sawmill in Savannah. He previously worked for 15 years as a forester for Tennessee River Pulp and Paper Company.
Paul was united in marriage to Brenda Case, his forever love, on April 18, 1969. He first met Brenda when they were just kids. There was snow on the ground, he pushed her down in the snow and went home and told his mother that he just met the girl he was going to marry. They were engaged on Brenda’s 16th birthday and got married when she was 17 and he was 19.
Paul loved his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ foremost and exhibited that love to others daily in the way he lived his life. He loved his family immensely being a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend of many. He was a longtime member of Bethel Springs First Baptist Church where he was a deacon and Sunday school teacher for many years. Paul brought joy to everyone and his constant smile would light up a room. He never met a stranger and never hesitated to offer help to anyone in need. He was a U.S. Army Vietnam War Veteran, a past president of the McNairy County Forest Land Owner’s Association, and a past president of the Selmer Lion’s Club. He presently served on the TFA Board and was the 2016 honored recipient of the Merit Award by the Tennessee Forestry Association. Paul’s expertise in forestry was immense. That expertise led to him being asked to teach forestry workshops and seminars at various universities. Paul loved the outdoors, hunting, canoeing, camping, hiking, and just being in the woods. He enjoyed artifacts and history, reading, music and collecting. He was always there for his family, regularly volunteering for any school activity involving his kids and grandkids.
Mr. Pickens departed this life on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at the age of 67 years, 2 months, 23 days.
He is survived by his wife Brenda Case Pickens of Bethel Springs; three children, Sarah Pickens Ingersoll and husband Clint of Florence, Alabama, Paul Andrew “Andy” Pickens and late wife Ashley West Pickens of Selmer, and Anna Pickens Patterson and husband Bryan of Huntsville, Alabama; six grandchildren, Claire Nichols, Rachel Pickens, Trey Nichols, Mason Pickens, Haylen Ingersoll, Preston Patterson; a sister, Sarah McClendon of San Rafael, California; a brother, Bill Pickens and wife Bonnie of Escondido, California; and a host of extended family and friends.
In addition to his mother and daughter-in-law, Mr. Pickens was preceded in death by a sister, Cynthia Pickens; two brothers, Earl Ray Pickens II and Ken Pickens.
Funeral services were held on Sunday, Jan. 8, at 2 p.m., at First Baptist Church in Bethel Springs with Mike Hollaway and Paul Edmiston officiating. Burial followed in Lake Hill Memorial Gardens at Bethel Springs. Memorials may be made to the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis.
Serving as pallbearers were Andy Pickens, Clint Ingersoll, Bryan Patterson, Adam Plunk, Kenneth Kiestler, Randy Kiestler.
Arrangements by Shackelford Funeral Directors of Selmer.