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 send my condolences to Barbara and the family. Michael was a kind, interested, involved man and I am honored to have known him. - Peggy Florida
Michael’s enthusiasm for life was catching. (In these strange times it feels good to remember that some things can be infectious in the best possible way!) He could go from debating C S Lewis’s theology one minute to discussing a seniors coffee discount the next. We think of him every time we visit Royal Hospital Chelsea or whenever Albert Einstein comes up in conversation... which is surprisingly often! It was an honour to know him.
I remember Michael with pleasure as a former fellow member of the University of Ottawa Choir and from regular encounters at concerts over the years, accompanied by my friend Barbara to whom I send most sincere and heartfelt condolences.
I send my condolences to Barbara and the family. Michael was such a knowledgeable and enthusiastic person. I remember him from many Chamberfest concerts, and from volunteer duties at Chamberfest and 13 Strings; it was always a more interesting shift when Michael was there.
Roberta Hicks de Plumpton
Beautiful remembrance - love to you all
Uncle Michael is so well loved and remembered as he deserved. Sending cousin support hope we meet again
Ruth Brown and David Brown
Michael was a wonderful friend and cheerful companion to several generations of the Brown family, from lunches and dinners to visits to the cottage, encounters abroad and so much more. He truly enriched our lives and has left many fond memories. Our thoughts and condolences go to Michael's family and especially to Barbara, who became a good friend in her own right.
Thinking of you, your daughters and their families at this time. I think back to the years in the Glebe when Ted and Michael shared rides to Choral Society and the witty exchanges between those two!
Dear Barbara, Jennifer, Margaret and Sarah,
I was so saddened to learn of Michael's death. He was such a lovely man; warm, and helpful to all, interesting, funny and humane. The world could ill afford to lose a man like him. Please accept my sincere condolences
Dear Barbara and family, please accept my deepest condolences on the passing of your beloved Michael. I always enjoyed Michael's sermons, which referenced his life in the public sector, and his sense of humour. With love, Kathleen
Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of Michael Hicks.