Obituary of Dr. H. Frank Hicks Jr.
Dr. H. Frank Hicks Jr., 95, of Fort Myers, FL passed away on February 21, 2019.
Frank was born in Buffalo, NY on June 30, 1923, to H. Frank Hicks, Sr. of Uxbridge, England, and Lorna Eulalie Hicks (née LeVee) of Toronto, Ontario.
He graduated from Kenmore High School just before his 17th birthday and earned his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at age 20. He returned to RPI after World War II, earned an M.S. in Electrical Engineering, and in 1951 became the school’s first PhD in Applied Physics. His doctoral thesis was on an early technology for color television.
Frank had a deep love for our country and served it in various capacities for almost 40 years. Enlisting in ROTC one month after Pearl Harbor, he entered the U.S. Army immediately after his December 1943 college graduation. As a lieutenant in the Signal Corps with skills in electronics, he was an instructor in the new technology of radar in Cambridge, MA until being deployed to Italy. After his discharge from the Army, he served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve until 1951.
Frank was passionate about physics and engineering and became a rocket scientist, working on highly classified government projects including spy satellites and missile guidance systems at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, NY.
Frank led the design and manufacture of America’s first high resolution reconnaissance satellite cameras starting in 1958 a few months after the Soviets launched Sputnik. Presidents Johnson and Reagan both spoke about the critical contributions that these spy satellites made to preventing nuclear war. The camera systems on the Lunar Orbiter missions that mapped the moon’s surface in advance of the Apollo missions were also developed under his direction. Frank retired from Kodak in 1981 as the Director of Research and Engineering for the Kodak Apparatus Division, and was named Director Emeritus.
Frank met Joanne Elizabeth Glennie in kindergarten, fell in love in high school, and they were married in Long Branch, NJ on June 17, 1944 when the Army granted him a 36 hour leave for their marriage and honeymoon. Frank and Joanne enjoyed almost 55 years of a loving, happy marriage until Joanne passed away in 1999.
Frank loved to build things and was an accomplished carpenter, mason, plumber, and electrician. He designed and built the home where
he and Joanne retired in the hill country near Naples, NY. They spent many happy years there, enjoying time with family and friends, gardening, cutting firewood, riding tractors, swimming in their pond, hiking, and cross country skiing. In 1993
Frank and Joanne moved to Punta Gorda, Florida, and in 2001 Frank moved again to the Shell Point retirement community in Fort Myers.
Frank was active in Rotary in New York and Florida and was a Paul Harris Fellow. Frank served on the board of directors for the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Yates County Industrial Development Agency, both in Penn Yan, NY.
Frank was predeceased by Joanne in 1999. He is survived by their three children and their spouses: Dr. Roger Hicks (Linda Rachmel) of Nevada City, CA; Dr. Sandra Wulach (James) of Edison, NJ; and Scott Hicks (Carol Hoogerhyde) of Underhill, VT. He is survived by six grandchildren and six great grandchildren: Jesse Hicks (Lynsey) of Los Angeles, CA; Dr. Marya Hicks (Benji Brown) of Reno, NV; Laura Espinoza-Wulach (Cristóbal) and their son Bernardo of Highland Park, NJ; Suzanne Wulach of Brooklyn, NY; Jonathan Hicks (Eleanor) and their children, Henry, Sophie, Edward, and Robert of Granville, OH; and Evan Hicks (Nikki), and their newborn son Denison of Fairfax,
VT. Frank is also survived by his brother, James Hicks (Mary) of Algonquin Highlands, Ontario; his sister Barbara Kling (William) of Naples, FL and Silverwater, Ontario, and his former sister-in-law, Carol Welsh of Bracebridge, Ontario; by twelve nieces and nephews and their families; and by his dear friend, Lucy Miller of Shell Point.
A memorial service will be held near Naples, NY during the summer of 2019. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the H. Frank Hicks, Jr. Memorial Fund, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, P.O. Box 565, Sanibel, FL 33957.
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