Our Senior Man of the Year shares his birth year with such notables as Sonny Bono, Woody Allen and Elvis Presley. The Year? 1935.
This artist was born and raised here in Pleasanton. He graduated from the Pleasanton school system in 1954, where he participated in football, basketball and track. He honed his artistic skills by illustrating the high school yearbooks, beginning with his eighth-grade year. From there, he went on to the University of Texas in Austin. As he worked towards obtaining his degree, which is in Commercial and Advertising Art, he enjoyed Sigma Chi Fraternity (serving as President) and as an Illustrator and Art Editor of the Texas Ranger magazine. Post-graduation, he joined the Army as a 14 Lieutenant and was stationed at Ft. Lee, Virginia. Upon his honorable discharge, he returned to his home in Pleasanton to join his father as the fourth generation in the family business—a retail and grocery establishment named Ricks Co.
During his 35 years as a Pleasanton merchant, he supported countless organizations and individuals with donations of gift certificates or merchandise for their charitable fundraisers, auctions and raffles. He also gave his time to many civic and school groups. He was a Director for the First National Bank and the Pleasanton Industrial Foundation (which encouraged business growth). He served as President for the Pleasanton Little League, the Little Dribblers and the Booster Club. He also worked as a Chamber Director and Chamber President, as well as Cowboy Homecoming Parade Chairman. He provided a location for the very first Cowboy Homecoming, the parking lot of Ricks Co., where it was held for many years. Though his art was on the back burner as he worked and helped raise a family, he was able to utilize his talent through projects like designing the paper mache longhorn that was used onthe Chamber of Commerce float and designing and painting the “faces” on the original wooden playground in the River Park.
In 1992, he was able to step away from retail and concentrate on his original passion, art. He has won acclaim with his watercolor renditions of people and places, locally and nationally. Some of his awards include Brush Country Artist of the Year, National Arts for the Parks Top 100, Publication in “Best of US Watercolors,” Poster Artist for Atascosa CountySesquicentennial and (twice) for the United Way of San Antonio. Additionally, he has been honored with a resolution in the Texas House of Representatives recognizing his achievement in art.
He continues to support organizations by donating paintings for charitable fundraisers, such as Atascosa Family Crisis Center, Atascosa Health Care Center, Pleasanton Methodist Church, Wounded Warriors, Our Lady of Grace and PISD Education Foundation, to name a few.
His service has continued as well. Currently, he is celebrating over 60 years of Rotary Club participation. He was President and worked on many projects over the years, including Scholarship Spaghetti Dinners, Cow Patty Bingo and the recent “ramp building” project for a local homeowner. As a life-long member of Pleasanton First United Methodist Church, he has held many positions. Most notably, an ongoing 40-plus-year role on the Church Finance Committee. He also is a Choir member and participates in the Nursing Home Singers ministry.
And in keeping with his love of painting, he has recently held the offices of President and Treasurer in the Texas Watercolor Society. In his free time, he holds watercolor workshops, juries painting exhibitions and has his own shows in town and around South Texas.
Married for 63 years to his wife Barbara, they have three sons and daughters-in-law: Lee III and Jan, Randy and Leslie, and Fletcher and Becky. He is “Poppa” to seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren (with a ninth on the way).
Senior Man of the Year is Lee Ricks, Jr.