September 29, 2004 by

Dee Bickley

5 comments

Categories: Sports

Donietta “Dee” Bickley believed in keeping her mind active and exercising regularly. She didn’t own a car so she walked everywhere — to the grocery store, to her sister’s house and to classes she audited through the Golden Identification program at the University of Maryland.
In 1982, Bickley participated in a 25-mile walk to raise money for the March of Dimes. But when the organizers of the event reduced the distance from 25 miles to six, Bickley decided to train for a marathon. With coaching from her son Jack, the 4-foot-10-inch athlete walked and/or ran four to 12 miles a day.
Bickley was 72 years old when she ran her first Marine Corps marathon. Until an illness slowed her down in 1998, she ran eight more and was a nationally ranked runner in her age group. Her best time was 5 hours, 43 minutes.
Born in Pietracamela, Italy, Bickley immigrated to America with her mother when she was 3 months old. She attended Thompson’s Business College and worked as a secretary to the president of the Woodward & Lothrop department store in Washington D.C.
Her husband, James I. Bickley, was a mechanical engineer in the U.S. Air Force. When he was posted in Libya, she traveled overseas with him and served as a secretary with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Tripoli. Bickley also spent three years at the International School of Milan and 18 months in Rome before returning to the states. In her spare time, she volunteered at the University of Maryland and the Kennedy Center.
Bickley died on Sept. 2 of septicemia. She was 89.

5 Responses to Dee Bickley

  1. Stacey Davis

    I met Dee when I was a sophomore at the U of MD College Park, in 1992. She was spunky, funny and invited me over for dinner one evening. What a character! I loved her zest for life and how she lived life to the fullest. She was an example for everyone. I later saw her volunteering at the Language House on campus and then again at the Adult Health and Development Program on campus. She was a wonderful woman and I am glad to have known her during my years at College Park.

  2. Matt

    My grandma Dee, who is gone now, is my heroine. I cant say that her leaving this earth is a grand suprise, she lived a life that not too many could expect to experience. I love her so much, she gave me inspiration for everything. Nothing matters from here on out except the qualities she taught me, my grandma. I am so proud that she is, Mrs. College Park. The biggest lost in my life.
    -Matt

  3. Sandra Saliani

    I met Dee Bickley when I was a student in College Park. I was the italian mentor in the language house where she volunteered. She was an extraordinarily woman. Later she hosted me in her house and I will never forget that wonderful period.

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