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.
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Sending love to you all. He was always my model of consummate Canadian gentleman.
Rosanne and Michael Jovanovski
A beautiful tribute for a beautiful human being. Our deepest condolences. Sending our love and prayers.
Michael was a very vital person...pointing out John Deifenbaker to me, introducing me to my first computer experience, fixing water pumps, explaining French safes and warning me about social engineering. I always looked forward to spending time with him..
Tom and Deborah Jolly
What a life! Saddened by your loss, our thoughts are with you Sarah and family
What a beautiful overview of his amazing life. Sending you lots of love.
A life well lived indeed. Memories that will live on forever.
My favourite memory of Michael was going down the Dumoine River with him and four Hadwen boys and my own father (who recently passed away). As we all did, Michael spent much of the trip in a sunhat, glasses and boots, and not much else... We all laughed a lot.
My heart felt sympathies to Jennifer and her family. May he remain in your hearts but Rest in Peace. Amen!
Alex D McKinnon
I did not know Michael but if he was anything like his daughter Sara, then he would have been a great person. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
The Hadwen family had a close relationship with Michael. He provided us advice and was a lifelong friend, and was the most generous of his time and advice as I began my govt consulting career. We would meet regularly at various pubs and talk about career and life. As Colin Dobell mentioned there were also the memorable canoe trips in bad weather which included a great canoe trip up the French River with Simon Hooper and Anthony (my brother), but even more memorably, the great Dumouine River trip with Colin and his father in the lead. Michael believed strongly in the principles and practices of responsible government and lent (?) me a book that I still have: The Responsible Public Servant. I am sure he would have much to say about current issues, and be confident this next generation of leadership will sort it out.