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Frederic N. Hicks

HICKS, FREDERIC N., died July 9, 2013 in Louisville, KY, at the age of 85, a few months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

A University of Louisville professor emeritus in the department of anthropology, a scholarship for foreign study in anthropology was established by the university in his honor upon his retirement in 1996.

Dr. Hicks was born in New Orleans but spent his youth in Connecticut and graduated from the Putney School in Vermont. He was a veteran of the Korean war and a graduate of the University of New Mexico before moving to UCLA where he received his PhD in 1963. Dr. Hicks was active in the American Anthropological Association and Society for Economic Anthropology and is known for his study of social stratification in Paraguay and Aztec Mexico. He wrote or contributed to numerous academic journals, is the co-author of El Códice Vergara with Dr. Barbara J. Williams, and a contributor to the Handbook of the Aztecs, which will be published by the Oxford University Press.

Active in Louisville's open housing movement in the 1960s and a long time resident of the West End, Dr. Hicks served in leadership positions with the Committee of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, the Southern Organizing Committee, and the Kentucky Interfaith Taskforce on Latin America and the Caribbean (KITLAC), among others. He is remembered fondly as a lover of the opera and chamber music, a fine cook, and a superb storyteller.

Fred's wife, Dr. Judith Joel, an anthropologist and linguist whose work detailed the language of the Paipai of northern Baja California, was an anti-racist activist who died of breast cancer in 1996.

He is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Warren and Emma Hicks, of Georgetown, Connecticut, many colleagues in anthropology, and a broad circle of friends in the movements for peace and justice.

His was cremated and a memorial service will be held in the future.

At his request, memorial gifts can be made to Oxfam America, the American Civil Liberties Foundation, Doctors without Borders, or the Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund.


Published in The Courier-Journal on July 12, 2013
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