Michael Keith Hicks was a civil servant, clergyman, professor, music lover, outdoor enthusiast, homegrown-tomato aficionado, collector of Canadian art, engaged citizen, traveller and storyteller.
The youngest of five children, Michael was born in Toronto to Marjorie Ogilvy (Edgar) Hicks and Rivers Keith Hicks. As a boy, he attended University of Toronto Schools and went on to study at Trinity College (U of T), where he earned a B.A. (’49) and M.A. (’50). He started his career at the Treasury Board in Ottawa before deciding to seek ordination as an Anglican minister.
After earning his M. Div. in 1960 at General Episcopal Seminary in New York City, Michael moved back to Toronto. It was there at a Student Christian Movement meeting that he noticed a clever British beauty named Barbara Findlay. They were married in 1962 and moved to Winnipeg, where their three daughters were born. He was a chaplain at the University of Manitoba and taught political science.
In 1973, the family moved to Ottawa where Michael rejoined the Public Service of Canada, served in several Anglican churches, and taught public administration at Carleton University. Through these multiple vocations, Michael demonstrated his deep commitment to public service.
Alongside a boundless zest for life and an inquisitive, open mind, Michael also possessed a steady, quiet faith in God. He deeply loved classical music and was an enthusiastic choral singer. He relished telling generations-old family tales and recounting events from his youth, whether that was having tea with Albert Einstein, hitchhiking around post-war Europe or travelling in the Canadian north. Even as his mind slipped away in recent years, his wonderful sense of humour continued to shine.
He is remembered with great love by his wife Barbara; daughters Jennifer, Margaret, and Sarah; grandchildren Mark, Carolyn, and Meredith Nicol, Santiago and Juan Ainslie, and Oscar and Ben Leckman; sons-in-law Bruce Ainslie and Michael Leckman; multiple generations of nieces, nephews and cousins; and friends of all ages. He was predeceased by brothers John Edgar Hicks, Anthony Rivers Hicks, Douglas Barcham Hicks, and sister Maud Jocelyn (Hicks) McLean.
Michael’s was a life well lived and his extended family will carry on the torch of taking time to share a good story and a beer. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Michael’s memory to the Glebe Centre long-term care home (glebecentre.ca), St. John the Evangelist Church (stjohnsottawa.com) or a charity of your choice.
A funeral service will be held in Ottawa on July 25, 2021 at 2pm. Due to government-imposed restrictions related to COVID-19, attendance will be restricted to a limited number of individuals, personally invited by the family. You are welcome to attend the service through the live-stream broadcast on the Christ Church Cathedral YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/christchurchcathedralottawa.
What al life he lived, and how fortunate it was for all of those who were able to hear his stories.
I wish I had known him better, and look forward to hearing his stories through the voices of his wonderful daughters.
Andrea and John
Sincere sympathy to Barbara, Jennifer and the family. Michael and I were billeted together ( separate rooms) in Belfast on an OCS choir trip. I always enjoyed his company and appreciated his wisdom.
I have fond childhood memories of both your parents. My condolences to your family.
I shared singing in 2 choirs ( OCS and Carleton U) with Michael over the years. Encounters with him always involved wise insights and irreverent fun! My sincere condolences to Jennifer and all the family.
The Reverend Canon Laurette and Mr. Ross Glasgow
Fond memories of Michael at UofM and later as neighbours and friends in the Glebe, and latterly as clergy colleagues. We give thanks for his life and ministry and offer our heartfelt condolences to Barbara and “the girls”, especially Margaret who was very special to the Glasgow family...and Merlin!
Jennifer and family, Sorry to hear about your loss. You are all in my thoughts.
Brenda Lee Wilson
Goodbye Michael. I have such fond memories of you and Barbara at Cammac summer camp at Lake MacDonald, and at the musical events with the Ottawa Choral Society. You were a great addition to our choir and to our community life. Barbara and Jennifer, take care of yourself and each other in this sad time.
My deepest sympathies to Sarah and the family. I never met Michael but he sounds like he was a wonderful man and a much loved father. Sending love and strength at this sad time.
Michael and Barbara were much loved friends of our parents, Bill and Helen Mills. Michael was a smart, kind and amusing man. I will always be grateful for his compassion for Dad at the end of his life. Thinking of you, Barbara.
My deepest condolences to Barbara and family for your loss. A life well lived.