In Memory

Joe Hickey

Joe Hickey

Joseph Franklin Hickey, II – in Memory

Joe Hickey passed away from a heart attack on September 16th, 1997.  He was vacationing at his home in Charlevoix, Michigan, with his wife Kitty.  

Susan and I, along with Hugh and Muffy McPheeters, spent ten days with Joe and Kitty weeks before his death at their cottage in Charlevoix.  His home overlooked pretty Lake Charlevoix. 

Even though we were friends since grade school, Joe always surprised me with the breadth of his knowledge.  His passion was computers.  Joe received his bachelor degree from Yale University and studied Cinematography at Boston University.  He then served in the United States Army for four years as an officer.  He began his career in 1069 with the Hickey Mitchell Company, a family business. He was a business executive and management consultant.  For many years he was active on the Board of the Forsyth School, which named a building after him in appreciation of his efforts on behalf of the school’s development.   

But of course Joe's obsession was film.  Name a film, any film, and he could tell you everyone in it, its director, cinematographer, and the history of how it was made.  So many hours at dinner were spent listening to the world's expert talking about some new film.  But his specialty was film noir.  Funny how we're not surprised at this, given Joe's sometime macabre sense of humor.  He would be describing some particularly grisly and ghastly scene from one of those black and white movies made after the war, and he would have a grin that looked for all the world like something out of Charles Addams.  We would be in tears with laughter. 

 Literature was Joe's third love (after Kitty, of course).  He never stopped reading, and during the last several years had written several crime novels.  They did not get published, but Harry Weber read one and said that it was amazingly good.  One morning in Joe's cottage we were having coffee after breakfast and I noticed he had a copy of Robert Fagel's new translation of The Odyssey.  It looked liked it had not been cracked yet, but I asked Joe whether Professor Fagel's translation lived up to all the critical acclaim.  Typical of Joe, he didn't answer directly, but picked up the volume, thumbed through it for half a minute to around page 600 and said "decide for yourself".  What I read was a two page description of Odysseus and his buddies sailing at morning into some absolutely gorgeous harbor described as if it were nothing other than the dawn of creation.

We miss him terribly.  Joe gave us a lot of laughs, and an insight into things that we would not otherwise have had.

Respectfully submitted, (I encourage other classmates to add on comments and memories)

Denny Wedemeyer, September 29, 2009

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02/24/10 10:09 PM #1    

Tom Singer

Joe was one of the most remarkable people I have known. He was so smart and so challenging. Once--still in college I think--we drove from St. Louis to Newport Rhode Island for the Folk Festival where we saw Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and many others. Joe was really "fierce"--in the sense that he was so passionate about what he did. One time when I came home to St. Louis for some sort of break, Joe sat me down for close to 24 hours and made me watch all of Scorcese's films--Taxi, Raging Bull--I can't remember what others. Joe was a really talented writer and I think that is what he should have done professionally--but his father died unexpectedly at a relatively young age and Joe had to take an active role in the family business. He was so creative and I think that not becoming a writer (he studied with Robert Penn Warren at Yale)cost him dearly. He could be bitter and sour--because he expected so much of himself and his friends and in some ways,he did not get to fulfill his enormous potential. But, he was such a courageous soul and such a fierce warrior and such a loyal friend that he made a profound impact on me and all of his close friends that none of us will ever forget.

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