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William Douglas Hicks

Apr 1, 2009

William Douglas Hicks, 87, of Sanibel passed away on Thursday, March 26, 2009. He is survived by his wife, Judith, of Sanibel; his daughter, Shannon Geyer, of Littleton, Co.; his grandson, Tim Bush, of Denver, Co., and his stepdaughter, Jennifer Combs of Seattle, Wa.

Bill was born on Jan. 26, 1922, in Carthage, Mo. He received his Bachelor of Science degree with honors in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri School of Mines in Rolla, and worked for Westinghouse as a registered professional engineer based in Missouri for 36 years. He served his country from 1944-46 in the Navy and was stationed in the South Pacific.

Near the end of his Westinghouse career, Bill enjoyed a two-year special assignment in Spain, serving as a consultant for the installation of a large nuclear turbine near Madrid. He lived in a small Spanish village and experienced the charm of rural Spain.

Throughout his life, Bill expressed his avid love of the outdoors through hunting and fishing. He was a world-class fisherman who freely shared his expertise and passion for the sport with others. The biggest fish he ever caught was a 30-pound snook on Sanibel. In 1982, he ably assisted his 12-year-old grandson in landing a 137-pound tarpon after a two-hour battle.

Bill retired to Sanibel in 1980, living on the island full-time. In 1990, he and his wife Judy took an adventurous, fly-in camping trip to remote Alaska, catching and cooking wild salmon. He helped many part-time Sanibel residents maintain their homes, pools and landscapes while they were away.

He was an active member of the Sanibel Community Association, serving on its board in the 1980s, and also served as its manager from 1990-2000. He proudly assisted Judy with her award-winning bromeliad and orchid cultivation and shows.

A staunch Democrat, Bill will be remembered for his strong personal integrity, his determination to obtain an education despite childhood family challenges, his conscientious responsibility for his business and family, his keen intelligence, his low-key humor and his compassion for others.

Memorial gifts in Bill’s name may be sent to the Sanibel Community Association. A celebration of his life will be shared with his Sanibel friends and neighbors in late April.