Hugh T. Wickens, 91, of Belleville, Ill., born Saturday, March 10, 1923, in North Vernon, Ind., died Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, at Memorial Hospital in Belleville, Ill.
Growing up in a huge Catholic family of 11 children, Hugh was a faithful member of the Parish of St. Theresa in Belleville for 45 years. He served the United States during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. As a young man, Hugh joined the Air Force, serving in World War II with a support squadron in India. He was then stationed in Utah and Idaho for several years. As the war came to an end, Hugh worked as a railway express clerk. He met Betty Large of Springfield, Ill., and they married on April 24, 1954. Hugh returned to the Air Force, and the couple lived in Germany, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, and Hawaii. During those years, the family grew with the births of six children. Retiring from his last station at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Ill., in 1970, Hugh and his family resided on East Shore Drive in Belleville for many years until he went to live at Grand Manor Retirement Village in Swansea, Ill., where he most recently attended Holy Trinity Church.
Hugh enjoyed sharing his musical talent wherever he could, and entertained many not only with his singing, but also with his guitar, banjo, ukulele, harmonica, and keyboard. His favorite song was the Irish ballad, "Danny Boy."
Hugh will be remembered for his many years of work and dedication as a well-loved and respected mentor in the AA program. His legacy will certainly live on through those who loved him, but also through the people whose lives were affected by his acts of kindness and the sacrifices he made for others.
Waiting for him in heaven are his wife and the mother of his children, Betty D., nee Large, Wickens; parents, James P. and Sarah M., nee McCann, Wickens; brothers, Danny, Phillip, Jim, and John Wickens; sisters, Mary Wickens, Mert Wickens, and Kate Daegar; and granddaughter, Kloey Grace Wickens.
Hugh took pride in each of his children, Rhonda (Gino) Joshu of Millstadt, Ill., Jim (Kelly) Wickens of San Antonio, Texas, Sharon (Sonny) Krawietz of San Antonio, Texas, Carrie (Mike) Little of Shiloh, Ill., Julie (Dave) Robison of Shiloh, Ill., and Debbie (Wade) Hewitt of O'Fallon, Ill.
He was also an adoring grandfather to 10 grandchildren, Jana, Nate, Mackenzie, Michael, Kasey, Hayden, Grant, Mason, Luke, and Kerby; and three great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by three dear sisters, Jinny Wickens, Mabel Byers, Teresa Bruns, all of whom live in Indiana; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be made to Covenant House, Mo., or Catholic Urban Program. Condolences may be expressed online at www.kurrusfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may call from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, at Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, Ill.
Funeral: A funeral procession will leave from Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, Ill., at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, for a 10:30 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Fairview Heights, Ill., with Father Raymond Schultz officiating. Interment will follow at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo.
KURRUS FUNERAL HOME, Belleville, Ill.
Kurrus Funeral Home
1773 Frank Scott Pkwy W
Belleville, IL 62223
Published in Belleville News-Democrat on Aug. 17, 2014