He was born on June 22, 1935, in Rolandus, son of the late Samuel and Mabel (Donahue) Pickens. He was an Army veteran, having entered the service in 1956 at Fort Leonardwood, Mo., and served in Korea from 1956 to 1958, returning to Fort Knox, Ky., in 1959.
He joined the Syracuse Fire Department in February, 1960, where he served as squad chief for eight to 10 years and was fire chief for approximately 30 years. He also served on the Water Board from 1970 to 1972, was appointed to town council in 1972, and served as Mayor from 1978 until 1992.
Since 1979 he served as an EMT and was a trustee at the Meigs EMS from the time it was formed. He was a member of the Mason VFW Post 9926, a proud supporter of the Syracuse Youth League, Southern Band Boosters, and served on the board of the Syracuse Community Center.
He was employed as a carpenter. He attended the Syracuse Nazarene Church and the Pomeroy Nazarene Church.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by brothers Elmer L. Pickens and Donald W. Pickens and sister, Clara Smith.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Lavender Pickens; children: Eber O. Pickens, Jr., Deborah and Tom Lowery and Earl Pickens. He was Papaw to Zachary Pickens, Jordan, Casey and Troy Pickens, Logan Fink, Brady Fink, Amber and Camille Hughes, and Rex and Rachel Mohlman; great grandchildren: Cierra, Caleb and Mirale Hughes, Brady and Zander Mohlman; brothers: Emmett and Sue Pickens, Wesley and Louise Pickens, Shelby and Ruby Pickens.
Funeral will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday May 4, 2009, at Anderson-McDaniel Funeral Home in Pomeroy. Officiating will be Rev. Jan Lavender. Burial will be in Letart Falls Cemetery, where VFW Post 9926 and American Legion Post 140 will conduct military services.
Friends may call from 6-9 p.m. on Sunday at the funeral home. Fire Department service will be conducted at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday by the Syracuse Fire Department.
Donations may be made to Anderson McDaniel Funeral Home to be applied to funeral expenses. A registry is available on-line at www.andersonmcdaniel.com.