Ernest Paul (Bick) Bicknell II

Date of Birth

August 13th, 1912

Date of Death

July 30th, 2011

Memorial Meeting

Berkeley Monthly Meeting


Ernest Paul Bicknell II, nicknamed "Bick" by himself and friends, passed away peacefully at the age of 98 on Saturday, July 30, 2011 in his home in Oakland, California.

Born September 13, 1912, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Scott Clarence Bicknell and Anna Katharine Quick, both of Indianapolis, IN, Ernest was the grandson of Ernest Bicknell, first National Director and Vice Chairman for the American Red Cross. His parents were married in Marion County, Indiana, on June 29, 1911.

The year following graduation he worked as a reporter for the Indianapolis Times through Antioch College's progressive work-study program. During his second year of college at Butler Journalism School, he sold his Model T to help his mother and stepfather purchase the Milroy (Indiana) Printing Plant, where Ernest ran a hot-metal typesetting press, was reporter and editor. This is where he learned proofreading and developed a passion for editing. His love of the newspaper business lasted his entire life.

In 1935 Ernest moved to San Francisco to work for the American Red Cross where he ran the library and created the magazine "First Aid on the Highway" that was picked up as a regular publication by their national office. He attended San Francisco State College and graduated in 1941 with a degree in social work.

In 1941,after registering as a conscientious objector, he was thoroughly questioned by the draft board where he shared his beliefs and thoughts on the military and war. He was never called to duty.

After many newspaper positions in the California Bay area and a short while in Los Angeles, he retired in 1979 at the age of 67. Retirement wasn't in his vocabulary, however. He immediately became head of Northern California Press for John Anderson's Presidential Campaign.

Ernest married Eleanor "Ann Taylorson" Dixon on June 6, 1936. They had a son, Ernest Paul Bicknell III and a daughter, Susan Bicknell Price. In 1952 Ernest married Tonita Harris and they had a daughter, Toni Katharine Bicknell. During the War on Poverty Campaign and the Peace Movement of the 1960s Ernest and Toni began attending Berkeley Friends Meeting.

Bick met Eda Drake in 1968 when they were both 58 years old. They were married in 1978 in a Quaker ceremony at Hayward Friends Meeting. They were two of the founding members of Hayward Meeting, but also regularly attended Berkeley Meeting. Ernest and Eda were together for 32 years until she passed away in 2002 at the age of 90.

An active, regular attender at Berkeley Friends Meeting, College Park Quarterly and Pacific Yearly Meeting, His concern for justice led him to becoming active in the Friends Committee on Legislation, a Quaker lobbying group in Sacramento, California. Through three decades spanning the 1970s through the 1990s he served as Berkeley Meeting's representative to that body, as well as the Meeting's Peace and Social Order committee and the Meeting itself. During all this time and into his early 90’s he was an Attender. In 2002 he became a Member of Berkeley Meeting and the Society of Friends and was immediately named by both Berkeley Meeting and Quarterly Meeting to their respective Ministry and Oversight committees.

Ernest is survived by three children, Ernest Paul Bicknell II, Susan Bicknell Price, and Toni K. Bicknell; three stepchildren; six grandchildren; and three great grandchildren. A celebration of what would have been Bick’s 100th birthday was held at the Berkeley Friends Church on September 15, 2012.