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.
I was a Poli Sci student at the University of Mantioba when Michael taught there. As I recall, I never actually took a course with him but, nevertheless, we became friends and I learned from and admired him. Most memorably he led a group of us on study tour to Quebec during which we met with Renne Levesque, Claude Ryan and many others. He was kind, funny and a consumate teacher in and out of the classroom. When I became a public servant in Ottawa he and Barbara helped us get settled. We lost touch after a time but I have always thought fondly of him and I am thankful for the postive impact he had on my life.
I knew Barbara first as the membership drive coordinator for Old Ottawa East Community Association and through her, was introduced to Michael at their OOE home and was fortunate to attend some concerts he sang in. I was sad to read of his passing and realize how many years have gone by since I moved out of the OOE neighbourhood.
I am writing to send condolences to Barbara (my former colleague) and the family at the passing of Michael. My main contact with Michael himself was in the Carleton U Choir for years, where he so clearly and competently enjoyed singing, as well as being an active 'community member' . The obituary shows what a rich and contributing life he led.
Please accept my sympathies.
-- Wendy Lawrence
Sarah and Family, sending my condolences on the loss of your amazing father. Sending strength and hugs, Dana
Dear Hicks family - I have known Michael since our early days at UTS - was playing hockey with him when he damaged his eye.We have stayed in touch over the years.He has led a remarkable life.I send my sincere condolences to all of his family.Sincerely,Bill Blundell..
Michael was a wonderful person who gave his total commitment to things that he believed in and enjoyed. He made a major contribution to life in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton through his teaching and engagement with colleagues. I will remember him as someone with amazing qualities of seriousness, good humour and mischievousness.
Michael was a good friend to two generations of Bryces. With great sensitivity and thoughtfulness he carried out the farewell services for my father-in-law, mother-in-law and my husband. For a number of years Michael and Sandy sang beside each other in the Ottawa Choral Society and I was told that down moments were spent amicably arguing their differing points of view regarding religion. A few years ago I was on a cruise with Michael and Barbara along the Inside Passage of B.C. and enjoyed many good stories about his interesting life.
He was a great personality.
My condolences to all his family.
Shealagh E Pope
Jennifer, Margaret, Sara, and Barbara
So sorry to hear that Michael has died, but as others have said, he lived a good life - on so many levels. Thinking today about the big house on First Avenue and how welcoming it always was. Mr. Hicks was very tolerant (and perhaps bemused) by my regular visits to his study at the front of the house to pay my respect to the David Milne.
Sending love and hoping that all the memories from friends and family help you all celebrate his life.
Remembering a mentor, a colleague, an inspiration to the students, staff and faculty in the School of Public Policy and Administration. Michael's contributions, sense of humour, experience, advice and dedication to our School and Carleton University will never be forgotten. I had so many interesting, entertaining and memorable discussions with Michael, and I am so glad he was there for me during the early stages in my career and as a colleague.
I first met Michael in Newfoundland in the early 70s when he was visiting with a friend, Norman, and then after I established a family practice in Ottawa the Hicks family became part of that.
I always enjoyed Michael’s visits - you could count on them being interesting, informative, erudite, wise and often taking a unique insightful angle on current affairs.
I send my heartfelt condolences to the family.