The Edmond Sun


April 11, 2013

Donald Lee Wickens

EDMOND —     Donald Lee Wickens, 78, of Edmond, Okla., beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend went home to be with the Lord on April 9, 2013.  He was born in Oklahoma City, Okla., August 11, 1934 to Idora Belle (Totsy) and Claude Preston Wickens.  He and his identical twin brother Ronald grew up in Oklahoma City and graduated from Classen High School. Don attended Oklahoma A&M where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering and was a member of Chi Epsilon and Sigma Tau engineering honor fraternities.

    After graduation, Don married Sylvia Ann Knopp on August 25, 1957 and they had two daughters, Julie and Donna.  Don served active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant, and then as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserves.  In 1960 he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal.  After leaving the Air Force he returned to Oklahoma State University and earned his MS in Civil Engineering.  He worked as an engineer for several years before joining Benham Engineering in 1965.  Over the course of his career he managed the design of hundreds of building and bridges.  He commuted to the company’s Houston office for two years and to the St. Louis office for more than eight years, never relocating his family from their Edmond home.  In 1991, he became the Chairman and CEO of the Benham Companies. During his time in leadership the company grew from 300 employees to over 750.

    In 1997, he was inducted into the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology Hall of Fame.  He was a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, served on the Board of Visitors for the OU College of Architecture and on the Professional Advisory Committee for the OSU School of Architecture. When he retired, Governor Frank Keating and Mayor Kirk Humphreys declared January 14, 2000 to be Donald L. Wickens Day.

    He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, his dogs and horses, flying a helicopter and his plane.  In his youth he played the trumpet and his love of music continued throughout his life. With his wife Sylvia, he enjoyed spending time in Red River, New Mexico and traveling. As an expression of his faith, he was very active in Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and instrumental in overseeing the construction of the addition of a new sanctuary. He served on many committees and church offices and enjoyed his Bible study group and tutoring the Holy Trinity Christian School children in math.

    Don is survived by Sylvia, his wife of 55 years; daughters Julie and husband Roy Ballou and Donna and husband Todd Lisle; grandsons Philip Mock and wife Cassie, Andrew Mock, Jackson Lisle, and Connor Lisle; step-grandson Justin Ballou; brother Ronald Wickens and wife Julia Ann, brother-in-law Charles Knopp, and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.  Don will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.

    Formal visitation with the family will be 6 - 8 p.m.  Friday, April 12, 2013 at Matthews Funeral Home, 601 S. Kelly, Edmond.

    A service of celebration for the life of Donald will be 2 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 308 NW 164th, Edmond.

    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Building Fund.

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