JACK LEE HICKOK, 80, of Dunbar, W.Va., died on March 14, 2020, from multiple complications of advanced kidney disease.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Sue, and son, Geoffrey, of Dunbar; daughter, Beth Hickok (John Galloway), and grandson, Andrew Boggess, of South Charleston.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Hubert and Beatrice Hickok.
He spent his early years in Mercer County, graduating from Athens High School and then Concord College. While attending Concord, he met Suzy Cook, who he coaxed out of a pine tree to go on a date with him. In 1962, he convinced her to marry him.
Together they attended WVU, where he earned his Juris Doctor. This was the beginning of his long career as an attorney. He served as Assistant Attorney General for West Virginia and had a private practice where he focused on Workers' Compensation, while also providing criminal defense and family law services to many, often pro bono. Possibly what he found most rewarding was working as the Director of Appellate Advocacy at WV Public Defender Services.
Advocacy was a common theme throughout Jack's life.
Jack and Sue chose Charleston as the place to put down their roots, raising their son and daughter. They became leaders in the community, championing causes like education, music, religious freedom and equal rights for all.
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston, W.Va., was often a springboard for these causes. In the words of a close friend: "Over the past 35 years or more, Jack may have been the most valuable and stalwart member of our UUC " Serving in the capacity of Commissioned Lay Leader, he worked to designate the church as a sanctuary for refugees in the '80s. He later performed a same sex marriage, long before it was legal in West Virginia.
The UUC was also the source of more lighthearted fun for Jack over the years. He enjoyed singing in the choir and helping to host the many after practice dinners at the Hickok's home in Dunbar, where they moved in 2001 to be closer to their beloved grandson.
It would be impossible to tell the story of Jack's life without mentioning baseball. His love of the St. Louis Cardinals at times tested the strength of his marriage. If they had a third child, it probably would have been named Stan Musial Hickok. Instead, Jack and son Geoff often traveled to watch major and minor league games whenever they could.
As his health declined, he spent more time watching TV which caused him to become a fan of Saul Goodman, who he admired for his skill, not his scruples. Jack also enjoyed watching the impeachment of President Trump.
The last weeks of his life were filled with laughter, love and music. He received wonderful care at Hubbard Hospice House West. The number of visitors that came was staggering. Friends and family came constantly, filling his room with jokes, guitar playing, singing and stories about their memories with Jack. The family will be forever grateful for these visits, with a special thank you to Diane Mitchell.
His last week was spent at his daughter Beth's home. He had quiet time with family, enjoyed Sue's cooking, and listening to his favorite music. He died peacefully.
Other noted accomplishments: As a child, he won a contest for his design of Bat Man's Bat Bike. He successfully escaped a kidnapping attempt by Scientologists. He was a "College Reporter" for Playboy Magazine. He hit two police cars in two separate auto accidents.
In light of the COVID-19 virus situation, a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
Should friends desire, donations of remembrance could be made to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston, W.Va., or HospiceCare of W.Va.