William Harvey "Bill" Ricketts, 87, of Muskogee passed away on Saturday, April 10, 2021. Born September 26, 1933 in Syracuse, Kansas, Bill was the youngest son of John Calvin Ricketts and Sarah Agnes (Gallagher) Ricketts. He called Muskogee home from the age of 3, attending Muskogee Public Schools and playing football on the 1951 State championship team from Central High School.
In 1953 he married Doris Lea Winn, also of Muskogee. Bill was a proud alumnus of Oklahoma State University where he majored in civil/structural engineering and was President of Chi Epsilon honor society. An avid OSU Cowboys fan, he cheered loudly both from the stands and from his home, missing only a couple of games over half a century. Building buildings on the Stillwater campus and advocating for OSU athletics throughout the years, Bill supported the University until his death.
In 1972, Bill started Ricketts Construction Company in Muskogee. With son-in-law Terry Groom, the late A.J. Roth, Steve Crank and other trusted associates, Bill designed and built numerous projects from New Jersey to California including banks, churches, fire stations, public schools, medical facilities and businesses local to Muskogee and the area.
Passionate about many hobbies and activities over the years, Bill enjoyed team roping with the late Jerry Huggins, raised award-winning racing pigeons, and built model airplanes. He was a champion of football trips and family vacations and spending quality time with his children and grandchildren was his favorite pastime of all. He also enjoyed all kinds of music and played banjo and harmonica in a bluegrass band. A member of First United Methodist Church since 1967, Bill sang in the church choir and served on the board.
He rarely tired of working. He was above no task and generous to all he met. He invented several things over the course of his life and held patents on many of them. His love for animals especially showed in his enjoyment of the family dogs.
"I love all my family" were Bill's last words.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents and by his brother John Allen Ricketts and sister Rose Aileen (Ricketts) Shelor and her husband Douglas Abell Shelor. He is survived by his wife Doris, of the home; their two daughters - Theresa Ann (Ricketts) Groom and husband Terry, and Kelly Jean (Ricketts) Wilson and her husband Luther. Bill is also survived by grandchildren Carlye Jean (Groom) Katz and husband Tal, Lindsey Elizabeth (Groom) Torres and husband Michael, William Curtis Mather and wife Elyse, Dylan Marshall Wilson, and Melissa Elizabeth Lea Wilson and great-grandsons Lev Aryeh Katz, Theodore Michael Torres and Samuel Barrett Torres. Also surviving are Bill's sister-in-law Lois Ingle and family friends Shirley Roth and Ken Webb and numerous nieces and nephews.
A graveside service to celebrate Bill's life and legacy will be held on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 1p.m. at Green Hill Cemetery in Muskogee. Pallbearers are Luther Wilson, William Mather, and Michael Torres. Honorary pallbearers are Terry Groom, Tal Katz, Kenneth Webb, Fred Bliss, Jack Price, and Yohannes Woldemariam.
Funeral service arrangements are under the direction of Hunn Funeral Home of Checotah.
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