Evelyn Bickham

Published 2:13 pm Friday, May 10, 2019

Dr. Evelyn Pertalion Bickham entered into rest Friday, May 3, 2019, at her residence in Rolesville, N.C., with her children present.

Evelyn, 94, was born in Bogalusa to Evelyn (Evie) and Augustus (Gussie) Pertalion. She was preceded in death by her parents and her Bogalusa High School sweetheart and loving husband of 75 years, Truett Bickham.

She is survived by siblings, Janis Pertalion Knight and Albert Pertalion, both of Hammond; her four children, B. Michael Bickham (Sandra) of Franklinton, N.C., Janet Bickham Gardner of Wake Forest, N.C., Deborah Bickham Szymelewicz (Frank) of Burnsville, N.C., and Denise Bickham Kerr (Michael) of Taft, Texas. Also surviving her are 11 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

Once her four children started school, Evelyn began her own academic pursuit at Oglethorpe College of Atlanta, Ga., and ultimately earned her undergraduate and post-graduate degrees from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. Evelyn was active in various Virginia schools as a classroom reading specialist, librarian, teacher, and principal. After earning her doctorate in education, Dr. Bickham became an Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Virginia, and went on to accept a position as Professor of Education at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Va., serving as co-chairperson of the Education Department, Director of Graduate Studies in Education, and Supervisor of Student Teaching.

Dr. Bickham was very active in professional education associations during her career, acting as President of the Virginia Association for Early Childhood Education, board member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum, and the World Council for Curriculum and Instruction. She was a member of several professional organizations including Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Delta Kappa and Cardinal Key at Lynchburg College. Considered an international expert in her field, she often presented workshops at professional conventions in the U.S. and abroad. As an enrichment to the field of study in education, Evelyn developed, scheduled and directed post-graduate courses abroad during summer terms at numerous universities in Europe, Asia, and Australia. Her husband, Truett, became her faithful travel companion. At Lynchburg College (now University of Lynchburg), she created and funded the Evelyn P. Bickham annual academic scholarship, which is awarded to graduate students in the study of Education. Upon her retirement, Lynchburg College named the Department of Education building in her honor. Carrying her passion for education beyond her retirement, as an octogenarian Dr. Bickham traveled alone to South Korea to teach a graduate education course in reading.

Evelyn had an appetite for reading fiction and watching old Westerns. Once asked why she preferred old cowboy shows, she responded, “Because good always triumphs over evil.”

In lieu of a memorial service in North Carolina, Evelyn and Truett both requested to be taken home to Louisiana to rest with loved ones in the family cemetery. The family would like to give a special thank you to the staffs of Avendelle Assisted-Living at Heritage in Rolesville, and Kindred Hospice Care in Oxford, N.C., for their loving care and support.

Arrangements are by Bright Funeral Home and Cremation Center, located at 405 S. Main St. in Wake Forest (919-556-5811, www.brightfunerals.com).