Gregory Earl Hickman
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Gregory Earl Hickman

Gregory Earl Hickman died peacefully at home on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, surrounded by family after a dignified battle with metastatic melanoma.

Greg was born on March 9, 1955 in Pueblo, Colo. He earned a prestigious Paul Garrett Scholarship to play basketball at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. After a striking senior exhibition of his art works, Greg graduated from Whitman in 1977. He went to Hollywood to put his design skills to work in advertising.

Greg returned to Seattle and took a graphic design role in 1984 with the newly minted Microsoft Press in Bellevue, Wash., where he designed art-quality covers for Microsoft manuals. During that era, Greg also created logos for City Guitars and for Mambosok, the pantleg-inspired headscarf craze of the early 1990s. He also designed the label for Atlas Amber Ale, produced by the University District's Big Time Brewery. As his many friends can attest, Greg was an inspired prankster: He was responsible for the bottlecap-sized black "basketballs" appearing overnight on pedestrian-crossing signs leading from West Seattle toward the Kingdome when Seattle hosted the NCAA Final Four in 1989.

After his retirement from Microsoft in 2001, Greg traveled, golfed, spent time with friends, and continued with art and graphic design. He dabbled in short film, and wrote his first feature-length screenplay. He also took part-ownership of the Boise Hawks minor-league baseball team. Greg's generosity provided for the 2008 construction of the Gregory Hickman Digital Arts Lab in the Fouts Center for Visual Arts at Whitman College.

In his final 18 months, Greg produced a self-portrait inspired by M.C. Escher and landscapes including a series of Blake Island montages. He left unfinished a series titled "Cross All Ways," a set of four perspectives on the famed diagonal crossing at the West Seattle junction of California Ave. and Alaska St.

Greg is remembered as an affable, generous, intelligent, distinguished, and compassionate man. He was a grateful and devoted son to his mother Esta, a steady presence and good-natured ribber to his siblings, a nurturer of talent and character in his nieces and nephews, and an awe-inspiring 6'8" colossus willing to get down to eye level with his little great-nieces.

Greg leaves behind a great many friends from Whitman College, the Roanoke Park Place tavern, Microsoft, the Boise Hawks, and his West Seattle neighborhood. Preceded in death by his father, Earl Lee Hickman, Greg is survived by his mother Esta Hickman of Mill Creek, Wash.; his sister Paula Yocum (Tom) of Redmond, Wash.; his brother Curt Hickman (Alicia) of Everett, Wash.; nieces Bonnie Rough (Dan) of Seattle, Amanda Underhill (Josh) of Seattle, and Danielle Hickman of Everett; nephews Luke Yocum of Redmond and Benjamin Hickman of Everett; and great-nieces Josephine Rough and Louisa Rough of Seattle.

A celebratory retrospective of Greg's life and legacy is planned for Saturday, January 26, 2013 at The Fauntleroy Hall (Vashon Room), 9131 California Ave. SW, Seattle, Wash. Guests are welcome between 1 and 5 p.m., with remarks beginning at 2 p.m.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Seattle Times on Jan. 20, 2013.
Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
July 14, 2013
I was so sad to hear of Greg's passing. I had been in touch through Facebook and was looking forward to seeing him at our 40th reunion. Greg was a great guy and I will miss him deeply.
Edward Fasso
March 28, 2013
I just found out about Greg's passing yesterday. As a Fraternity
Brother @ Whitman, Greg was a great leader, fun guy and tremendous basketball player. I lost touch with Greg after college and really feel bad about not staying closer...he will be missed.
Jerry Barbour
Jerry Barbour
March 12, 2013
To Greg's family, I just found out that Greg passed away! I am so sorry for your loss of a really nice guy! (I cut Greg's hair for over 30 years.) He will be terribly missed!
Lavena Chapman
January 21, 2013
I was very sorry and saddened to hear of Greg's passing and wanted to pass along my deepest condolences to all of you during this very difficult time. To me Greg was always the big guy with the even bigger heart, he will be missed very much.
Harry Costello
January 21, 2013
Family, so sorry for your loss... I am a high school friend of Greg's and have only seen him a few times since. We corresponded for a short while when he was at Whitman. The last time I saw Greg we had adjoining seats at a basketball game. What a surprise! I was able to catch-up and hear what he was doing. At that time he was at Microsoft. As years have passed I have grown more appreciative of Greg and what he stood for, all 6 plus feet. He was a wonderful and fun person. You were lucky to have him in your life.
Glenda Graham-Walton
January 20, 2013
Greg was a giant gentle spirit. He helped and inspired my brothers with their basketball endeavors and more-he was like a golden light for our family as I recall, in that he was a trusted friend - someone you could rely on and you knew he would give you sound advice and guidance. I ran into Greg's towering body at the grocery store often, one specific day when I saw him I asked him if he could help me assemble my designs and art stuff into a brochure. (I had no idea how talented or skilled or experienced he was-I just needed someone who I could trust to look at my stuff and put it together and he mentioned that he was a designer) he looked away then back at me and smiled and said sure - later I went to his house and gave him a large bag of design stuff and he put together a great brochure for me and he showed me some of his creative work-though I had to really press him to see some of it. Looked like he was able to design just about anything from what I saw. He was just so good, honest and kind -and great humble man. I always felt a feeling of being safe when I saw him whether in the store or Walla Walla or anywhere. He just had a very comforting trustworthy and easy going energy about him which made me feel as if he was like a big brother even though we were not that close. I am saddened by his passing and wish his family solace in their loss. God Bless. Pam Ackerlund
Pamela Ackerund
January 20, 2013
Greg was a bright star at Whitman, bringing joy & laughter to so may classmates. He will be greatly missed.
Linda King (Kurfurst)
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