RIPON — The retired principal of Manteca’s Neil Hafley Elementary School who was rescued recently from his half submerged boat in Lake Don Pedro July 13 has died at his Ripon home.
Joe Wickham, 70, had been home recovering from the effects of the boating mishap when he passed away in the early morning hours Wednesday, Ripon Police said.
Wickham had been airlifted by helicopter to a Modesto hospital two weeks ago after a Southern California family found him clinging onto his 20-foot-long recreational boat that had taken on water. It was estimated that he had been in the water between 12 and 18 hours.
Wickham was the first principal at Neil Hafley School when it opened its doors. He held that position for some 15 years until his retirement. He had also served as vice principal at another school and taught fifth grade at Nile Garden School for some five years in the early ‘70s.
He is remembered as always being really liked by his kids. After his retirement he served as a substitute administrator within the Manteca Unified School Districts as well as at other districts.