March 6, 1936 – April 19, 2019
Francis Lawrence Bickle was born on March 6, 1936 to Frank (John Frank) and May (Alice May) Bickle. His father Frank and his Uncle Bill arrived in this area back in 1907 from Prince Rupert. After a time, the area became known as “Bickle” until it was changed years later to reflect its many different communities. May Beckwith arrived in the area with her mother, Sarah and her siblings who had come to homestead. On February 26, 1920, Frank and May were married and in 1936, May gave birth to Francis Lawrence, who would come to be commonly known as Lawrence.
As a child, Lawrence and his childhood friend, Wilma Gray, would ride their bikes all the way to Takysie Lake to go fishing and oftentimes rode his bike to school in the warmer months of the year. In the wintertime, he would sometimes dogsled to school as well. Lawrence learned how to work hard for what he wanted. He earned money by trapping and doing any odd job he could find and in 1952, at 16 years old, bought his first car, a 1928 Chevrolet that he paid $200.00 for it.
As the years went by, Lawrence worked. He made his livelihood by a variety of methods. He logged, owned a sawmill, hauled ties and ranched. In the 1970’s, by way of a farming accident, Lawrence lost his left leg. There are different recollections of his survival of this event. But certainly, his grit and perseverance played an enormous role in it. He managed to manufacture a metal leg for himself out of cast iron and a wooden “shoe last”. He kept the leg attached by running a rope through an eye and then up and around his neck. He was even seen welding it while he was still wearing it. When the men came who actually built a prosthetic leg for him saw what he had done, they said they had never seen anything like it.
The determination and tenacity that Lawrence exhibited throughout his life remains unrivalled. No matter what challenge came his way, he found a way to overcome it and push through it. Work, it would seem, would take up the larger percentage of his life and time, but Lawrence loved to fish, eat fish and talk about fishing. Close to his death, the two main topics of conversation were discing the hayfields and catching a big rainbow.
Lawrence remained unmarried throughout his life, and after persevering through so much in his time, and a fight with cancer, died at 4:30 pm on Friday, April 19th, 2019 with friends at his side. He is predeceased by his father Frank (1970) and his mother May (1977) and survived by relative Bruce Bickle and cousin Ian Bickle. He will be remembered by many, and the stories about him will live on for many years to come. He will be missed. “He will that.”
A memorial service was held for Lawrence at the Grassy Plains Community Hall on Monday, April 29th at 1 pm. In memory of Lawrence, please donate to the Southside 4-H Club.