Dean Paul Pickens, age 71, of Trumansburg, NY passed away at Cayuga Medical Center surrounded by family on Tuesday, February 22, 2022.

He was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio on October 18, 1950, a son of the late Paul and Mary Luella (Murdock) Pickens. Raised on the Pickens family farm in Martins Ferry, Dean’s love of the outdoors and nature started at a young age and continued throughout his entire life. He graduated from Mount Pleasant High School and obtained both his Bachelors and Masters Degree from Ohio University.

Dean was a beloved and respected social studies teacher at Ithaca High School for 30 years and was asked by the Senior Class to be their commencement speaker in his final year of teaching.

He was an avid student of history and international relations, leading him to have passionate political views. His love of nature was evident in his abundant vegetable gardens and love of Cayuga Lake. He spent countless hours fishing and longed for one last view of Cayuga Lake.

He was a devoted Cleveland Browns and Syracuse basketball fan. Dean enjoyed The Beatles, John Prine and could be found supporting all types of local musicians. He never missed a Grassroots Music and Dance Festival and always looked forward to seeing Donna the Buffalo.

Dean is survived by his wife of 44 years, Marsha Pickens; children, Ian (Kawi) Purnell and Eliza Pickens; grandchildren, Brisen, Weston, Layla, and Alaina; siblings, Kenneth (Mary) Pickens, Bruce Pickens, and Jean (David) Merriman; sister in law Janet Busch; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Dean was preceded in death by a grandson, Owen Dean Pickens.

A service will be held privately. A Celebration of Dean’s Life at Taughannock Falls State Park will be announced later this year. Inurnment will be held at a later date in Scotch Ridge Cemetery in Martins Ferry, Ohio.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks those that would like to make a contribution in Dean’s memory to kindly consider the Ulysses Philomathic Library, PO Box 655, Trumansburg, NY 14886.

For additional information, please contact Ness-Sibley Funeral Home at 607-387-8151, or visit