He was born on April 26, 1926, in Boulder. Wickstrom taught English and directed theater productions at Powell High School from 1950-1966, interrupted by Fulbright Scholarship study for one year in London. He left Powell to complete his Ph.D. degree in dramatic literature and criticism at Stanford University, which was awarded in 1968. In 2008, Wickstrom was made an honorary member of the PHS Alumni Association in recognition of his contributions to the PHS theater.
In 1968, he became an assistant professor of drama at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., where he served as department chair from 1976 until his retirement in 1990.
Upon retirement, he and his wife, Betty Jane Smith Wickstrom, also a Boulder native, returned to Boulder. They have lived since then in a house built in the backyard of the family home on Bluff Street, where both his grandparents, of Boulder City Bakery, and his parents lived.
Wickstrom was a master fly fisherman and fly-tier, who began fishing at age 12 with a rod and reel that his mother and father, Thelma and Percy Wickstrom, gave to him for his birthday.
His knowledge of Boulder Creek and the watersheds of the mountains surrounding Boulder, developed into many forms of writing and publication to which Wickstrom was devoted. He is the author of two books. “Notes from an Old Fly Book,” from University Press of Colorado came out in 2001, and “Late in an Angler’s Life,” from University of New Mexico Press, came out in 2004. He made many contributions to the distinguished The American Fly Fisher, the journal of The American Museum of Fly Fishing.
For over 10 years he published two gazettes, cherished by readers across the country and internationally, The Bouldercreek Angler, and The Bouldercreek Actor. He also wrote for his blog, The Boulder Creek Angler (bouldercreekangler.blogspot.com), posting his last essay, “The Fisherman,” on Sept. 5.
He was a member of the Boulder Fly Casters and the illustrious Flyfishers’ Club of London. Wickstrom was a WWII veteran, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 until 1945. He received his degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in English Literature in 1950, funded by the GI Bill of Rights.
His two daughters, Linnea and Maurya, were born, in 1951 and 1959 respectively, in Powell.
Over the years, Wickstrom directed over 100 plays, including directing and acting at The Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Upon retirement, and with J.H. Crouch as partner, he founded The Shakespeare Oratorio Society of Colorado in 1995. Each winter the society produced one of Shakespeare’s plays in their radically different “oratorical” format. Wickstrom played King Lear for the third time in the maiden production of the society.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Betty Jane Wickstrom; his daughter Linnea Wickstrom and her spouse, Peter Maresca, and their son, Per Wickstrom-Maresca; daughter Maurya Wickstrom and her spouse, Joel Reynolds, and their son, Naoise Reynolds and their daughter, Erin Reynolds. He is also survived by his brother Phillip Wickstrom, the two who were, always, “Thelma and Percy’s boys.”
Gordon expressly did not wish his death to be an expense to his friends. But hospice helped care for him in the last month of his life so if you so desire, his family suggests a contribution to TRU CommunityCare.
A service was conducted Sept. 24.
Wickstrom asked that his friends be directed to Shakespeare’s Sonnet #73, and, in the spirit of Dean John Donne of St. Paul’s, think on death as the most interesting, exciting, mysterious and disastrous thing that can happen to us.