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Celebration of the life of USA Wrestling leader Mick Pickford set for June 7 in Ft. Madison, Iowa

04/15/2014, 9:00am CDT
By Gary Abbott / USA Wrestling

Photo shows Mick Pickford, second from left in red shirt, posing with members of his family at a wrestling competition.

Mick Pickford, 82, a longtime USA Wrestling leader who served as the state chairperson in Iowa, passed away on April 9 in Sioux Falls, S.D. where he lived.

The Pickford family invites the wrestling friends of Mick Pickford to attend a "Celebration of Life" which is being hosted at Ft. Madison High School in Iowa on Saturday, June 7th at 2 p.m. Mick was the wrestling coach at Ft. Madison High, and lived there for many years when he was actively involved in USA Wrestling on a state and national level.

“Early in my career, 26 years ago, when I joined USA Wrestling’s staff, Mick Pickford was the state chairman in Iowa. He was one of the fundamental state leaders. When there was a decision to be made by USA Wrestling, Mick was one of the first people we would call. He was a mentor to me. Mick stood for supporting athletes at the grassroots level. His family was incredibly involved in the organization. With Mick, you knew exactly where he was coming from. We are going to miss Mick, and the impact he had on our organization and our sport,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender.

Memorial contributions can be made in Mick’s name to the following:
* Good Samaritan – Prairie Creek in Sioux Falls, SD
* Ft. Madison High School Wrestling Program
* Our Savior Lutheran Church in Ft. Madison, IA

PREDICAMENT STORY: Wrestling loses a legend with death of Mick Pickford

Mick Pickford Obituary (provided by his family)

Willard LaMarr “Mick” Pickford, 82 of Sioux Falls, South Dakota passed away April 9, 2014. He was born August 12, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois to Millie Pickford.

Mick graduated in 1949 from Lindblom HS Chicago, IL. where he lettered in wrestling and football, earned football All City team honors, and won two Chicago League Championships. He received his BS degree from Morningside College, Sioux City, IA where he was named to the North Central All Conference Football team his senior year. In 1985, he was inducted into the Morningside College Hall of Fame. Recently he was elected to the college’s 100th anniversary all-time football team. He received his MS degree from Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL. He taught and coached in the Iowa public high school system for 38 years, retiring from active teaching and coaching in 1993.

He reestablished the wrestling program at Fort Madison High School in 1959. During his coaching tenure, the Bloodhounds had 6 undefeated seasons, a string of 42 consecutive dual victories, and compiled a record of approximately 200-74-2. The Hounds had several top ten team finishes at state and earned the 3rd place state trophy in division 3-A in 1980. Seven of “Mick’s kids” became state champions along with many place winners.

Mick was selected to the High School Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame as well as the inaugural Fort Madison High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Iowa High School 3-A Coach of the Year and Regional Coach of the Year for the National Coaches Association. In 1997 he was inducted into the USA National Wrestling Hall of Fame and awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Officials.

Along with his high school coaching activities, Mick was also very active in the national/international wrestling scene, being the state chairman for USA Iowa, helping to establish the USA Officials Association and serving a term as its president. He helped set up some of the early training and evaluation procedures for the USA Wrestling Officials Association and conducted many clinics throughout the US. He obtained the highest official’s ranking in international wrestling and the M 1-E in the US.

In the 1970-80’s he officiated at several national Sports Festivals, Olympic qualifying trials throughout the United States, and was a table official at the Los Angeles Olympic games. He also served as a US Team delegate for world championships held in Russia and Switzerland. He remained active in the USA Wrestling, serving as state chairman and conducting coaching clinics in the region.

Mick was married to Nadine “Deenee” Grosbeck on July 7, 1951 for 52 years. He is survived by 4 sons; Mike Pickford (Judy) of Osage Beach, MO., Scott Pickford (Dianne) of Rock Falls, IL., Tim Pickford of Ft. Madison, IA., Pat Pickford (Sue) of Ft. Madison, IA.; one daughter Wendy (Kevin) Lampe of Sioux Falls, SD; 9 grandchildren, Andrea Niehoff, Nikki Pickford, Ashley Cupp, Courtney Davidson, Megan Campbell, Katie Pickford, Bonnie Pickford, Claire Pickford and Andrew Cochran; 6 great grandsons, William, Austin, Luke, Wyatt, Colt, and Kabe.

The Pickford Family invites you to join them in the celebration of their dad Mick’s life on Saturday, June 7th at 2:00 pm in the FMHS gymnasium. Light refreshments to follow.

Memorial contributions can be made in Mick’s name to the following:
- Good Samaritan – Prairie Creek in Sioux Falls, SD
- Ft. Madison High School Wrestling Program
- Our Savior Lutheran Church in Ft. Madison, IA

Send to Address - 701 E. Meadowlark Trl.
Sioux Falls, SD 57108

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