Hick, Michael Alfred Sampson

Michael Alfred Sampson Hick (b. 19 March 1937) passed away peacefully on 13 November 2020. Lovingly remembered by son Dr. Anthony Hick, daughter Dr. Katherine Hick, daughter-in-law Tiffany Kwan, son-in-law Ali Bilgen, grandchildren Dr. Michelle Hick, Sara Baum J.D., Zachary Baum, John Hick, Matilda Hick and Derin Bilgen. Pre-deceased by his wife Jacqueline (Shenton) and brothers Dudley, Tony, and Paul, and survived by sister Mary. He is fondly remembered by a large extended family network across three continents.  Michael was born in Plymouth, England, the fourth of four brothers.  A younger sister came later.  He attended Plymouth College as had his older brothers.  He excelled at athletics (or track as we would call it now).  A single parent, his mother could not afford running gear or shoes.  He sewed his own running shorts made from an old bedsheet and ran in rugby boots previously used by all three of his older brothers.  It was necessary to line them with cardboard to stop the hobnails digging into his feet.  In his senior year, he won the school championship in 100, 220 and 440 yards.  The school record in the 100 yards was denied to him as his run was wind assisted. Michael did not work hard at secondary school until the last few months of his fifth year.  At this point he realized he had to pass five O levels so as to be able to advance to the sixth form and sit his A levels. This was managed at the expense of other classes.  He famously achieved a mark of zero in French, this in a time when all marks were posted on the school’s public notice board. Michael became a student apprentice with English Electric in Stafford.  Each year, the two best apprentices were given a place in engineering at Loughborough College of Technology.  Michael earned one of these places and was granted his degree in engineering in 1966.  It was while working in Stafford that Michael met the love of his life, Jacqueline Shenton, a reporter for a local newspaper. They were happily married for fifty-three years.  In 1969, English Electric’s high voltage works in Stafford began to wind down.  Michael, Jackie and their two children, Anthony (b1963) and Katherine (b1965), became part of the exodus of EE employees to Ontario Hydro. The Hicks celebrated many Christmases with some of these families who had also left their relatives behind in England. Michael was a loyal employee of Ontario Hydro until retirement, first in the Research Lab and later at Head Office.  In 1971, Michael built a Mirror dinghy, a small sailboat that was the most popular in the world at the time.  He introduced his family to the Ontario Mirror Dinghy Association (OMDA) and set the stage for decades of sailing adventures and cherished friendships. He avidly and successfully raced Tiger Lil until his children left for university, thus depriving him of his crew. He then switched to Lasers and competed in master’s regattas for many years.  In one such regatta, he realised that a port tack start was favoured and did so, a brave and risky manoeuvre in a fleet of over fifty boats.  In one of his proudest moments, he crossed in front of the entire fleet on port tack on the first upwind leg. He was also a member of the famous Long Cruise in a Short Boat group. Five of the 11-foot Mirrors sailed from Killarney to Parry Sound, often battling 6-foot swells in the open waters of Georgian Bay. Racing the Mirror and camping with other Mirror families was a big part of Michael’s family’s life.  His love of sailing was passed on to his children and grandchildren. In 1980, he finished the Ottawa Marathon, in a time which would go on to be bested by a good twenty minutes by his wife Jackie fifteen years later.  After retirement, Michael and Jackie moved to Cobourg, where they lived for over twenty years, setting down strong roots in the community and developing enduring friendships.  Michael stayed active.  Among other things he was chair of the library board, chair of the PUC, consulted on quality management for a factory in Russia and wrote a weekly column for the local paper. Mike and Jackie were a big part of their grandchildren's lives and took great pride in their accomplishments both in and out of school.  Both of Mike’s grandsons were varsity athletes, Zac in sailing and John in soccer.  His oldest granddaughters are a doctor (Michelle) and a lawyer (Sara). Matilda, beloved baby of the family and serial hider of her grandfather’s car keys, carries her grandmother’s love of reading and her grandfather’s joyful nature with her.  After the death of his beloved Jackie, Mike slowly succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease.  He did his best to beat it by staying active physically and mentally and by engaging in courses of brain exercises.  Being quietly proud, he was embarrassed by his condition and began to curtail contact with old friends.  He still valued time with his family and the company of his grandchildren.  A few days before his death, stories about his brothers and sister, his children and grandchildren, and his dear Jackie could still make him laugh and cry. A private remembrance will be held in the future when safe gatherings are once again possible. The family wish to thank the caring staff at St. Joseph’s Villa in Sudbury, Michael’s home for much of the past two years. If desired, contributions to St. Joseph’s Villa (www.sjsudbury.com>index.php.>st-josephs-foundation) or a favourite charity may be made. 


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