To many members of the Moab community, Henry B. “Jack” Bickers was invisible, blending in as any other ordinary citizen. But to the backcountry explorer, Jack was a giant. He authored numerous books, articles, and flyers on ways to explore the Moab area backcountry to find enjoyment in its vistas, remoteness, hikes, jeeping challenges, and just its splendor.
Jack moved to Moab in 1981 after his retirement from Texaco. First he built his house, and then he went back to exploring the backcountry. Jack had already visited the area many times, and then decided this was where he was meant to be.
Once in Moab, he became connected with numerous like-minded individuals, which led to his involvement with the Easter Jeep Safari. Perusing early Jeep Safari fliers and newspapers is like reading one of Jack’s books – his fingerprints are everywhere. Jack led Safari trails for years; he helped lay out new trips and he named some of the obstacles. He was a Red Rock 4-Wheeler during the early years of the club.
Jack collaborated with Fran Barnes on a book or two, and he then struck out on his own, starting 4WD Trailguide Publications. He would pick an area he felt needed attention, and he would devote up to two years driving the old roads, hiking, mapping, and taking pictures of the area’s many different features. He would hike to find beautiful views, arches, and other natural and man-made features. Even Jack’s many out-of-town friends and relatives frequently got involved in his explorations. When Jack had finished with an area, he would publish a book to help others discover what he had found.
In later years, Jack served on a citizen’s advisory committee concerning the travel plan for Grand County. Then, when Grand County began its project to record every road in the county with GPS data, Jack volunteered to assist. He would ride along a day every week, and frequently he would point out roads that had been missed in the inventory.
Jack was a World War II veteran – having served in the Merchant Marines sailing hostile waters. He was the ship’s radio man and when it was discovered that he had a knack for cutting hair, be became the ship’s barber as well.
Jack passed away on April 18, while visiting family in Midland Texas. He was born Jan. 27, 1923.
Jack is preceded in death by his parents, his two sisters and his beloved wife, Naomi “Pat.” He is survived and will be greatly missed by his daughters, Pam Thompson of Midland, Texas; Karen Diaz of Denver, Colo.; and Jean Bickers of La Sal, Utah, as well as many grandchildren and great-grand-children.
Jack will be missed by all of us, especially by those who love enjoying this land. He made a statement, familiar to any who knew him: “Once a road, always a road,” and he held true to that belief.
There will be a service at St. Francis Episcopal Church on Saturday, April 30 at 11 a.m., and a celebration of Jack’s life at 11:30 a.m. in the church’s Parish Hall.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Moab Valley Humane Society in memory of Jack’s beloved cats, Mina and Mr. Caddison.