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.
Although I lost track of you for a number of years, I remember both of you well, Barbara and Michael. Peace to his soul. Barbara, may you be inspired by the sweetest memories of your long common life, and, as always, by our best friend, Music. Lots of love.
The School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton was very lucky to have the benefit of Michael's contribution for many years. I personally enjoyed the chats we had over the years and it was pleasure to have known him. My condolences to his family.
It is with regret that I note the passing of a fellow classmate.
Did Mike not suffer an eye injury while playing hockey after school one day?
If so, He is to be honoured for his many accomplishments. CHD
My sincere condolences to Michael's family as you celebrate a life well lived. He was a professor of mine at Carleton University and I remember my time in his class fondly - always generous in sharing his experience, wisdom, and wit with those of us who were eager to learn from him.
I met Michael and Barbara in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba in the early 1970s when I had just secured my first job teaching there in the Department of Classics and have in fact a pleasant memory of seeing them off to Ottawa for the Senior Common Room in University College in the spring of 1973. I was sorry to read of Michael's death and extend my sympathies to Barbara and his family. Coincidentally my wife and I moved to Ottawa ourselves in 2001. That Common Room farewell of some forty-five plus years ago had of course receded to the far reaches of my mind until I saw the obituary in last month's Ottawa Citizen. I remembered Michael at once and the kindness he showed me when I was just beginning my teaching career.