The Pickerington and Violet Township community is mourning the death of longtime community leader John T. Ricketts, who died June 11 in Mt. Carmel Hospital East after an extended illness.
Ricketts, who was 84, leaves a substantial legacy of community service, including 16 years as a Violet Township Trustee and 12 years of service as a member of the Pickerington Local School District Board of Education, having served as president and vice president.
"John's heart and passion was Pickerington," said Helen Mayle, Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce president.
She said Ricketts was a lifelong farmer who found the time to serve and help others.
"John was a mentor to many in our community, and his 'lead by example' leadership will be cherished and missed," Mayle said.
Ricketts, who was inducted into the PLSD Hall of Fame, was a 1947 graduate of Pickerington High School.
He was a vocational agriculture teacher and an FFA adviser for Liberty Union schools.
As a professional farmer, soil and water conservation issues were of paramount importance to Ricketts.
He was a member of the Fairfield County Soil and Water Conservation Board and served as president of the Fairfield County Agricultural Society. He was also a proud member of the Violet Grange.
"John was a pretty unique individual," said Harry Myers Jr., chairman of the Violet Township Board of Trustees.
"He gave a lot to this community,"Myers said"He was one of the older pillars of this community and had been here his entire life.
"He had seen a lot of changes and did a lot on behalf of (Fairfield) County and Violet Township, especially with regard to agricultural issues," said Myers, who added Ricketts was also instrumental to the continuing success of the Fairfield County Fair.
Ricketts was a charter member of Epiphany Lutheran Church, a 32nd-degree Mason and an author of books about the history of Violet Township.
He received the PACC President's Award for Outstanding Service as well as numerous other awards and honors throughout his lifetime.
Ricketts is survived by his wife of 62 years, Rita, and his four children, Johnita (Gene) Baumgardner of Jeffersonville, Ohio;, Cheryl Ricketts of Pickerington; Richard (Dulcie) Ricketts of Pickerington; and Carla (Tom) Moore of Galena.
In addition, he is survived by 11 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and many in-laws and extended family members.