Chet Wilcox on a year that saw him reach 50 states and 100,000 logged miles on his 50th Anniversary

Published 11:49 pm Saturday, July 28, 2012

72-year-old Chet Wilcox is this week’s Picayune Item Super Senior. He was nominated by his friends Vie and Dick Tuck for his spirit of adventure, accomplishments in life and dedication to cycling.

Wilcox received his B.S. in mathematics at Kansas State University in 1961 and followed with his M.S. in statistics in 1963. He was an operations research analyst for Lockheed Martin, working in undersea acoustic modeling and antisubmarine tactics for eight years before signing on as a Navy Civilian Scientist with the United States Navy for nearly thirty years. He was a Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff at the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at the Stennis Space Center, during which time he was awarded the Department of Navy medal for superior civilian service twice.

Wilcox and his wife of 50 years, Rosie, have lived in Carriere, for the past 35 years.

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They have three children and six grandchildren. During the years of raising their children, Wilcox was an assistant Scout Master, coach and very involved parent. But after their children had grown and started families of their own, the couple began focusing more on travel and incorporating cycling into their trips.

Wilcox began cycling long before 1987, but began journaling that year. This year, on June 2nd, the cyclist logged 100,000 miles and managed to do so in his last state to visit, on his Golden Wedding Anniversary. His wife accompanied him for the last two miles, sharing his milestone on a tandem bicycle.

The couple have cycled in Ireland and Italy. Wilcox most enjoyed the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Bike Ride through which he traveled from the nation’s capital along the route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Wilcox is not just known for is cycling accomplishments.

He is an active member in Picayune on Stage. He played George Kimball in “Send Me No Flowers,” directed by Gladys Hughes, and was also cast in “Squabbles.”

The former Sedan, Kan., resident was honored in April at KSU by being the recipient of the Kansas State University Department of Mathematics Distinguished Alumnus Award. He presented the Distinguished Alumnus Address at the Kansas State University Friends of Mathematics Award Banquet in Manhattan.

Even then he made the moment more about those around him than himself. His presentation was one of gratitude and a tribute to all teachers who helped along the way, singling out his high school math and science teacher, Roy Comstock.

“My wife and I feel very fortunate to have been able to retire in our early sixties and pursue a life where we keep fit and explore. Our goal is to make the most of each day and take nothing for granted,” he says.

“That is why I get up each morning. When we are not traveling, I bike through our county. People would not believe the beauty which waits for them on our back roads. The discovery process is as enjoyable as the adventure of traveling them.”

Wilcox feels he would not change a thing about his life and loves sharing time with family and friends as well as the solitude of cycling.