Local Obits

Obituary of Kenneth Paul Wickman


Dr. Kenneth P. Wickman of Cortland passed away following a brief illness on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse. He was 92 years old.


He was born to August and Celia (Anderson) Wickman in Gardner, Massachusetts, on November 22, 1930. He spent his childhood in Gardner and Erie, Pennsylvania, graduating from Gardner High School in 1948.

He began his higher education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1952. Shortly afterward he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He served two full years of active duty stationed at Fort Lee, Virginia, before being discharged in August 1954. He went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a doctorate from Syracuse University.

His education complete, Dr. Wickman became an assistant professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts. During this period, he met JoAnn Wandas, whom he married in 1964. They spent the first few years of their marriage in Amherst. In 1968, he accepted a position at SUNY Cortland to help build a new department of economics. Over his tenure as an associate professor, he was very involved in teaching and developing courses, serving on faculty committees, conducting original research, and occasionally serving as acting chairman of the department. In addition to his professional achievements, he was a devoted husband and father who always prioritized his family.

After his retirement in 1996, he became active in the Cortland Rotary Club, volunteered as an AARP Tax Aide, and served as an enumerator for the 2000 Census. He was a board member for Catholic Charities of Cortland County and served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for the city of Cortland.

He had a lifelong love of travel, achieving his goal of visiting all 50 states and traveling to the Soviet Union, China, Egypt, and a host of European countries. He was an excellent photographer and enjoyed documenting his travels. He was an active congregant of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, later Grace Holy Spirit. Dr. Wickman was an avid reader, particularly of the New York Times, and a lover of classic movies and classical music. He was a fan of Syracuse University basketball and football and the Boston Red Sox.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Wickman is survived by daughters Sarah (Sam) Barbuto and Margaret Wickman, both of Liverpool, N.Y., as well as three grandchildren: Kevin, Joseph, and Lisa Barbuto of Liverpool. He is also survived by his sister, Emily (Norman) Conrad of Walpole, Massachusetts.

Funeral services will be conducted on Saturday, July 8, 2023, at 2 pm at Grace Holy Spirit Church, Court St., Cortland, N.Y., Rev. Thomas Margrave officiating, with a reception afterward. The family will be present to receive friends at the church at 12:30 pm prior to the service. A private interment will be in Cortland Rural Cemetery.

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