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David Hanley Pickens

David Hanley Pickens (AKA Tom) was born December 5,
1936, in Savannah, TN, to Kenneth Andrew and Mamie (Wilkerson) Pickens. He
was born smack dab in the middle of 8 siblings: Dean, Lorene, Ruby, Ann,
Bob, Lucy, and Calvin. They grew up in Tyronza, Arkansas, in his words
“poor as dirt,” in a time when horse-drawn carriages were almost as common
as cars, and he could buy a soda pop for 5 cents. He told us about how his
family picked cotton to make a living, and although it was a hard life,
what they lacked in money, they more than made up for with love. The
stories he told of his childhood were often reminiscent of Tom Sawyer and
Huckleberry Finn.  Of course, we all heard about how he walked to school,
sometimes in the snow, sometimes uphill, and then sometimes both uphill and
in the snow at the same time.

When he became a young man, he moved to Indiana to find work and a better
life.  While there he met the love of his life, queen of his heart, and
angel to all that meet her, Wilma. They say when you know, you know, and he
knew she was the one. They married September 20, 1957, after a lengthy
courtship of 3 months. Together they went on to have four boys, Donnie,
Billy, Larry, and Jimmie. A man of many hats, he became a fisherman,
gardener, carpenter, handyman, hunter, baseball coach, and all-around
superhero. As for his day job, he was an industrial worker, first for
Interoyle and later for American Seating, where he made many life-long
friends. Just when most couples whose children were adults would be looking
forward to an empty nest and doing fun couple things, Tom and Wilma adopted
a daughter named Christine (Chrissy) in 1984 when she was just three years
old. Later, when strangers would ask her where she got her red hair from,
Tom, with his jet-black hair, would tell her to say that she got it from
him. In 1985, they moved to Manchester where he built the home they still
live in today. There, he raised animals, planted a thriving garden every
year, fished every time he got the chance, dabbled in deer hunting,
attended church with his wife, Wilma, at The Tullahoma Church of God of
Prophecy, and never missed his daughter’s softball games. He became a
grandpa or papa depending on who you ask to Amber (Jason), Madison,
Russell, Josh, Jamison (Lindsey), Shane (Penny), Dustin, Alexis, Brianna,
and Lucas and a great-grandpa to Kylee, Jaythan, Aubriana, Paisley, and

Eventually, he retired…well, sort of. He became the official neighborhood
lawn mower and handyman.  He also worked part-time at the New Union
Convenience Center, and he spent a lot of his spare time at the Senior
Citizen Center socializing with his many friends and playing pool.
Throughout the years, he participated in many pool tournaments where he won
numerous trophies which he loved to show off to everyone who came to visit.
As a lifelong fan of Chicago sports teams, specifically the Cubs, Bears,
and the Fighting Irish, he was delighted to see the Cubs win the World
Series Championship in 2016. When he was not piddling around “The Farm”,
you could often find him in front of his television watching a sport,
Gunsmoke, Bonanza, or anything with John Wayne in it. Occasionally, he
would cut a rug and start singing a tune, usually “She’ll Be Coming Round
the Mountain” or “Green Grass Grew All Around.” He loved old country and
bluegrass music and went to many Bluegrass festivals throughout his life.
He enjoyed going back to where he grew up in Arkansas occasionally with his
brother and best friend Bob. Once, while visiting his family’s cemetery,
the group he came with stumbled into a nest of seed ticks which was a
miserable experience that he often brought up. Throughout the years, he
lost many loved ones including his parents Ken and Mamie, his siblings
Dean, Lorene, Ruby, Ann, Bob, and Lucy, his grandson Dustin, and his sons
Larry and Jimmie.

On May 12, 2022, he took his last breath after a heroic battle with cancer
at age 85. He was surrounded by his loving family. His wife, Wilma, his
children, Donnie, Billy, and Chrissy, his grandchildren, his great
grandchildren, and special feline friend, Frank. Throughout the months
after his diagnosis, we were visited and called by so many family and
friends – thank you for that.  He often said that in this life, it was the
people and the relationships he had that mattered the most, everything else
was just the icing on the cake. You can find him somewhere in the pink and
orange hues of the rising sun, the smell of fresh cut grass and morning
dew, and perhaps, when you see a fluttering hummingbird, he will be there

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Visitation with the family will be held Sunday, May 15, 2022, from 12noon
until 2:00pm at Central Funeral Home in Manchester, TN, with funeral
services immediately following visitation at 2:00pm. Burial will follow in
Ragsdale Cemetery in Coffee County.

Central Funeral Home is honored to serve the Pickens family, 931-723-7774,

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