Robert Hicks Dies at 82; Was in the Coast Guard

Robert (RD) Hicks


Robert (RD) Hicks, USCG

On August 3, 2022, ATC Robert (RD) Hicks USCG Retired “ ….slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter/silvered wings,” while in the arms of his daughter Lisa Schwartz. His son Dale Hicks and other family members were with him at his home in Juneau. He was 82.

Robert was born May 28, 1940, in Cherokee, Iowa, to Marjorie Catherine (Casey) Hicks and Dale Richard Hicks. He graduated from Cherokee High in 1958 where he was a state champion football player.

In September 1959 he enlisted in U.S. Coast Guard. After basic training he was stationed in Bermuda and while home on leave in February 1964 met Sandra (Sandi) Bryce. They married July 9, 1966 in Sioux City, Iowa, and he returned to his assignment in Traverse City Air Station (Michigan) where son Dale Gordon Hicks was born on Feb. 15, 1967.

 In 1968, Robert was transferred to Air Station Annette Island Alaska, which was very remote at that time. Sandi followed with son Dale and daughter Lisa Michelle, who had been born Jan. 16, 1969. They fell in love with Alaska and hoped to return and possibly retire somewhere in Alaska. 

After transferring back to Traverse City in 1971, he then had orders in 1974 for Governors Island, New York. He had just attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer in Aviation Electronics and a month before heading to New York he was requested to consider transferring back to Annette Island – and he immediately accepted!

It was during his second tour he and Sandi bought a two-pole 19-foot salmon troller and began commercial fishing after work and weekends. With the kids holed up in the nose of the boat or watching for the tug of the line to holler “FISH ON!” those were some of his most enjoyable times in Alaska and his greatest regret was that he didn’t take that boat with him when he transferred to Sitka. The Coast Guard  decided to combine Air Station Annette Island with the Sitka USCG Cutter Station in June 1977, and the family moved for the last time. He retired from the USCG in September 1979 after 20 years of service. He received five Good Conduct Awards, a Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Pritchard Memorial Award for the “most outstanding” aircrewmen chosen by the pilots of Traverse City Coast Guard Air Station. 

He was a member of both the Elks and Moose Fraternal Lodges, and attended Sheldon Jackson College, where he received an Associate Degree inFisheries and placed on the Dean’s List every quarter. He was on both bowling and steel tip dart leagues, and outstanding in both.

He was a proud supporter of the Sitka High Wolves and Sitka Little League. With his extensive training in electronics, he began working part time for Sitka Community Hospital as a Biomed Technician in the lab, which resulted in full-time from which he also retired.

In 1989 he and Sandi had an amicable divorce and remained friends throughout his life. In 1991 he married Judith Ramsey and spent many enjoyable days fishing and camping in the bays around Sitka with their friends. It was during this time he became Grampa to Judy’s grandchildren, and remained especially close to Amy Ellis. After he retired from the hospital they moved to Montana to be closer to Judy’s family. Judy passed in 2013 and Robert remained in Montana.

Robert began having medical issues in 2015, and with the urging of his daughter had agreed to return to Sitka to live with her in December 2017. However, just prior to leaving he was diagnosed with end stage renal disease and required dialysis three times weekly. His former wife Sandi lived in Juneau, which has the only dialysis center for Southeast Alaska, and she opened her home to him so he could receive the needed treatment. With the care he received in Juneau, his health continued to improve to the point he even had a hip replacement in November 2018. One of his joys was discovering that his good friend and coworker at Sitka Community Hospital, Harvey Newport, had moved to Juneau, and many Saturdays you’d find them playing cribbage and reminiscing. His time in Juneau allowed him to reconnect with his children and meet grandchildren and great-grandchildren for the first time.

Robert was preceded in death by his parents and his second wife Judy Hicks.

He is survived by his children Dale Hicks of Juneau, and Lisa Schwartz (Adam Avila) of Sitka; grandchildren Rebecca Peavey (Dallas), Ryan Hicks (Tristan Walsh) both of Juneau, Jamie Tomlinson (Jerimy Sheldon) of Sitka,  Amy Ellis (Dylan Swanberg) of Sitka, Krystal Davis of Polson, Montana; great-grandchildren Dakota Peavey of Sitka, Dillon Peavey, AudreyAnna Brevick, and Benjamin Peavey of Juneau, Michael Howard III, Karmen Kane and Isaiah Kane of Sitka; sister Carol Rumohr (Emil) of Royal, Iowa; friend Sandi Hicks of Juneau, and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life will be held noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at the the Sitka Elks Lodge, followed by a reception by the Emblem Club. Pastor Bennie Grace Nabua of Sitka United Methodist Church will officiate.

At noon on Monday, October 3, his ashes will be interred in the Columbarium at the Sitka National Cemetery, with a U.S. Coast Guard Honor Guard.

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At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






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