Allen Ricks, a longtime employee of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Information and Education Coordinator in the agency’s Region IV, has lost his fight after battling a rare form of cancer for less than a year.
Ricks died Nov. 26 at his home in Morristown. Ricks had been with the TWRA for 32 years. He joined the agency as a wildlife officer before moving into the role as I & E Coordinator for Region IV’s 21 counties in East Tennessee.
He was regarded as having a vast knowledge of his profession. Ricks provided services and assistance to his fellow workers and the public beyond what was expected. He was a huge proponent of outreach programs that drew young people into the outdoors. His ever-popular shooting trailer, featuring hands-on experience with archery and air rifles, was a prime example of this. Ricks was in his element when working with Scout groups, Future Farmers of America, National Wild Turkey Federation, Jakes events, Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshops and more.
He was a very devoted and dedicated employee of the agency and continued his normal work schedule until very recently, when it became physically impossible for him to get to the TWRA office.
Ricks was born in Athens, Tenn., on July 3, 1949. He attended Cleveland State Community College and received a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1971 and a bachelor’s in Wildlife and Fisheries and Science in 1978 from the University of Tennessee. He received further education training at the Tennessee Police Academy in Donelson.
He was involved in several organizations, including the NWTF. He was inducted into the NWTF Tennessee Chapter Turkey Hunters Hall of Fame in 2010. He served as the NWTF state chapter president from 1995-97. His awards included receiving the Association for Conservation Information Communicator of the Year in 2002, recipient of the Tennessee State Citizen Award, and the TWRA Area 31 Officer of the Year and Frank G. Clement Chapter of the F.O.P. honor in 1980.
A longtime member of the Tennessee Outdoors Writers Association, he was honored by that organization with a lifetime membership in 2009.
Ricks is survived by his wife of 40 years, Susan. They had two children: a daughter, Jennifer Ricks Peters, of Elizabethton; and a son, Jonathan Kirby Ricks, of Cecilia, Ky. He is also survived by a brother, John Ricks, and two sisters, Deana R. McCurry and Sharon R. Thomas.