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.
Published in The Seattle Times on Jan. 20, 2013.