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WPBS-TV Mourns the Loss of WPBS Artist and Teacher Wilson Bickford

WATERTOWN, NY; December 21, 2021 – It is with tremendous sadness and heavy hearts that the staff and Board of WPBS mourns the loss of WPBS artist and musician, Wilson Bickford.

Wilson passed away on Sunday, December 18th, 2021 after complications from COVID-19. He is survived by his wife Glenda, daughter Amy (Brennan) Ordway, grandson Alexander Ordway, granddaughter Lauren Ordway, brother Kerry (Nancy) Bickford of Fine, sister Sandra (Dave) Edwards of Gouverneur, sister Cheryl Bickford of Gouverneur, several brothers and sisters-in-laws and many nieces and nephews. His full obituary can be viewed here.

Audiences across the country and in Canada know Wilson as the witty and personable paint instructor whose show, “Painting with Wilson Bickford,” is found locally on WPBS and Create TV. For seven seasons this North Country treasure changed the lives of viewers with his accessible and encouraging approach. Syndicated on dozens of PBS stations across the nation and available on on demand online, Wilson’s how-to-paint show quickly became popular worldwide. Painters from all over the globe have learned from this self-taught talent, and have shared their paintings with Wilson via email, text, or Facebook. Often touted as the North Country Bob Ross, this undeniable talent was truly a mentor to many, and will be deeply missed.

Wilson Bickford was also a renowned musician in the region. He was born and raised in Governeur, New York where he resided with his wife, Glenda. Governeur is also where his studio is located, and where the WPBS-TV crew traveled each winter to tape his show. Never a dull moment with Wilson, it wasn’t unusual for him tell a series of jokes or share a story in between takes. WPBS Executice Producer and Director of Production Tracy DuFlo was at the helm of each taping season, and considers the time she spent with her colleague and friend, truly unforgettable. 2

“When Wilson approached us with the idea for the series I knew it would be an immediate hit,” DuFlo said. “Wilson was such a personable, friendly guy and always prepared. It was a joyful experience to work with him. Our crew would go up every January to film episodes for the following year’s release. Filming with Wilson was the highlight of my winter and producing his television series and DVDs was definitely one of the major highlights of my career. I am heartbroken and will miss him dearly.”

The 8th season of “Painting With Wilson Bickford” is slated to air in late March of 2022. Previous sesons of the program are also available on-demand here.

WPBS will broadcast and stream a video tribute in memory of Wilson in the coming days.

About WPBS WPBS is a PBS station serving approximately 650,000 households throughout Northern New York and Eastern Ontario via cable, satellite, Internet and over-the-air distribution. WPBS is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, inform, and engage its two-nation region with exceptional and trusted content across multiple platforms. Its vision is to be the premier provider of extraordinary public media that instills wonder and curiosity across generations and borders. More information about WPBS, including a full channel listing, is available at wpbstv.org, or by following WPBS on Twitter and Facebook.