Marcia Jean Hicks
In the early morning hours of May 23, 2021, Marcia J. Hicks, our gentle and continually cheerful daughter, sister, and aunt, surprised us all by passing from this life at age 65.
Marcia was born June of 1955, in Hamilton Ohio. Baptized and confirmed in the Presbyterian Church (USA,) she was an active Presbyterian throughout her life, and several of her life-long friends were those she first came to know through the church youth group. Marcia found her life’s calling when her father, David E. Hicks, fell ill with cancer, and Marcia and her mother, Mae Hicks, nursed him at home through his final months. When that sad duty came to an end, Marcia set off to Louisiana, where she became a paramedic, equipped to reach others in their moments of greatest need. (Somewhere, a baby that Marcia delivered in the back of an ambulance still carries her name!)
But being a paramedic wasn’t enough for Marcia. In 1995, she received a Bachelors of Science Nursing degree from Ball State University in Indiana, and was licensed as a Registered Nurse, working in hospitals in Indiana, Illinois, and Arizona. When she could no longer physically walk the hospital floors, she provided her wisdom and skills through telephone nursing.
Over the years, her sense of adventure took her as far as Hawaii, Alaska, and Central America.
None of this was easy. My gentle sister struggled from her early twenties with mental illness, enduring and overcoming challenges most of us cannot imagine. She was lost, abused, misunderstood, and mistreated, and yet she resolutely pushed through it all with her kind spirit unbroken and her faith in God intact. Not only did she struggle for herself, but she worked to make this life better for others with the same struggle, standing up and speaking out for justice, for better policing, for better understanding in society.
Marcia was very active in the National Alliance of Mental Illness and was a strong participant in the “ln Our Own Voices” program. She addressed assemblies of police officers, nursing students and medical students, clients and staff at mental hospitals, university classes and church groups. By sharing her experience as a medical professional with severe mental illness, and helping law enforcement and medical personnel understand the signs and behaviors of persons with mental illness, Marcia worked to prevent other individuals from experiencing the abuse and traumas she herself had to endure.
In recent years, Marcia made a place for herself in the Bridgewater Living community in central Phoenix, where she could walk to her favorite coffee shop and catch a ride to bookstores and shopping centers. She only recently discovered her creativity, which was a new blessing, as we now have little mementos crafted by her own hands. Even the COVID 19 pandemic could not stop her from reaching out to others through social media. As restrictions lifted in recent weeks, she began leading a bible study.
Marcia is survived by her mother, The Reverend Mae Hicks, her brother, The Reverend David C. Hicks, sister Laura Lee Imai, nieces Suzanna Hicks Rea and Gabriel Imai, nephew Peter D. Hicks, and great-nephews Matthew and William Hostetter.
A memorial and internment service will be held at the Mission del Sol Presbyterian Church, 1565 E Warner Rd, Tempe, AZ, on July 7th at 2pm. No flowers, please. If you wish to give a memorial in Marcia’s name, please make a donation to Mission del Sol Presbyterian Church.