D’Vonne Pickett Jr., owner of beloved Seattle store, honored at memorial
Family, friends, neighbors and community members gathered at Climate Pledge Arena on Thursday to honor the life of D’Vonne Pickett Jr., a Central District store owner killed last month in a shooting .
Pickett, a 31-year-old entrepreneur and father of three, was shot dead on October 19 as he and his wife closed The Postman, their mail and shipping business. His death shook the Central District community. Pickett served as youth football coach for the CD Panthers and was a beloved figure in the neighborhood and throughout South Seattle.
“I rely heavily on all of you, because the mission that D’Vonne and I believed in, put our blood, sweat and tears into it, kept communities connected,” his wife, KeAnna Rose Pickett, told mourners. during service.
Before the service began, photos and video clips of Pickett over the years were shown on the arena’s Jumbotron – Pickett doing tricks on the track at Garfield High School; cradling her newborn; toast with family to celebrate the holidays. A black coffin, edged in red and covered in flowers, anchored the public memorial.
Tributes to Pickett have highlighted his generosity, creativity, curiosity and unwavering commitment to his family.
“He had the purest soul I have ever known in my life,” his sister De’Auz’janae Pickett said at the memorial. “I’m so mad, I’m so mad but I know he’s done his mission on Earth, and I know his soul is full.”
Mayor Bruce Harrell, who spoke during the public service, said he and Pickett played on the same streets in the Central District. He recalled that growing up he knew people – “the pillars of our community, who did everything right” – who also lost their lives to gun violence.
“We have to do everything we can to save our own community, because no one will do it but us,” Harrell said, choking up as he spoke.
Terrell Elmore was Pickett’s first coach, teaching him to play little league football for the CD Panthers when Pickett was 7 years old. They stayed in touch throughout his life as Pickett became a skilled and dedicated basketball player.
Pickett helped the Rainier Beach High School Vikings win a 3A state championship in 2008, then played junior college basketball in Arizona for two years. He eventually got a scholarship to Seattle University, where he played D1 basketball, and later played professionally in Ontario.
But one of Pickett’s proudest moments was opening The Postman in the Central District in 2018, Elmore said.
Elmore remembers asking Pickett why he decided to include a portrait of his great-grandfather, Jacques Chappell, a postman in the neighborhood for 37 years, in the company logo.
“He said, ‘Just to preserve my family’s legacy,'” Elmore told mourners during the service.
Cameron Dollar, who coached Pickett when he attended Seattle University, said “Pickett’s real passion was to be a big man.” Dollar recalled that Pickett often watched Dollar and his staff carefully as they went about their daily lives with their own children, taking notes.
“He would follow up with questions like, ‘Hey coach, why did you do that? What were you thinking when you did that with your son?'” Dollar said during the service. basketball, but honestly we were only talking about basketball 15% of the time.”
The memorial ended with a coronation ceremony, intended to honor Pickett “as the king that he is”, Minister Danny Cage Jr said.
Pickett’s young son, D’Vonne Pickett III, took the stage with Pickett’s cousin, Dale Griffith. As he approached his father, he lifted a red pillow, bearing a glittering crown, high above his head. Then, between a flowerbed, he placed the wreath on his father’s coffin.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the age of D’vonne Pickett Jr. He was 31.