Bert Nelson Rickner passed away Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Oklahoma City.
He was born Aug. 23, 1941, in the Concho area north of El Reno to James Gilbert Rickner and Vonda Atkinson Rickner. Bert was born the second of four sons. The oldest Ralph and youngest Gary and his wife Nanette survive him.
Bert was preceded in death by his parents and brother Glen in 2019.
Bert is survived by his wife, Bettie; son Dr. Kyle Rickner and wife Julie; son Chad Rickner and wife Megan; daughter Trisha Hutcherson and husband Eric; six grandsons and three granddaughters.
Bert graduated from El Reno High School in 1960, where he was an All-State and McDonald’s All-American basketball player.
Following high school, he spent four years in the United States Air Force.
Later in life, he returned to military duty as an Air Force Reservist at Tinker AFB, where he worked in the chaplain’s and personnel offices.
He retired after 21 years with the rank of master sergeant.
He ultimately represented the Air Force by playing for the All-Air Force basketball team in locations all over the world.
After his military service, Bert was named all-conference and All-American, playing for the Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.
He graduated in 1968. His first coaching job was in Perry, followed by stints at Kingfisher, Dover and Cement high schools before going into school administration.
He served as superintendent at Cement; principal at Kingfisher Middle School and as activities director for Weatherford Public Schools.
Retirement from education came in 1997 after serving as principal at Hefner Middle School, Putnam City West High School and Putnam City North High School.
Bert’s educational career also included seven years in Department of Defense Schools in Okinawa, Japan, and Germany.
His second job in Kingfi sher was as middle school principal.
Sons Kyle and Chad attended middle and high school in Kingfisher.
It was also where Bert met his future wife, Bettie. She was a school library consultant for the State Department of Education and was in his school on a library facilities visit.
They married the following year in 1989 and were married for 33 years until his death.
Services were Wednesday, Dec. 28, at First Baptist Church of Yukon, with interment following at the Yukon Cemetery.