On Thursday, July 24, 2014, an earthly saint, Craig Walden Hickok, 76, of Mason City, passed from our midst in his home at Good Shepherd Health Center in Mason City. Memorial services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the First Presbyterian Church, 100 S. Pierce, Mason City, with the Rev. Paul Collier officiating.
Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Mason City.
Memorials may be directed to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PCUSA), PFLAG of North Iowa, Friends of Public Radio
or Una Vocis Choral Ensemble.
Born in McMinnville, Ore., on June 11, 1938, to Ken and Elsa Hickok, Craig and his younger brother, Leon, grew up in Cottage Grove, Ore., in a home filled with music and opportunities to be involved in music. Craig's father organized the first orchestra at Linfield College. Craig was an all-state clarinetist and drum major of his high school band, as well as the football team manager. He spent his Saturday afternoons driving his '47 Ford around town listening to the opera from the Met in NYC.
In only three years, Craig completed a bachelor's in psychology at Willamette University in Salem, after which he spent a year at the Southern California School of Theology. It was at Willamette that he met Barbara Sherk of Portland, Ore. He and Barbara were married on Jan. 31, 1960.
From Southern California, Craig went to the University of Wisconsin in Madison for graduate study, completing both his master's and Ph.D in human factors psychology. It was in Madison that Kate and Susan were born. In 1965, he and Barb moved their young family to Cedar Rapids, where over the next several years they added Will, John and Sarah to their family.
Craig worked for Rockwell Collins for 30 years as a human factors psychologist on safety design and analysis of cockpit display functions and human factors design of Starship avionics. In those capacities, he traveled around the world on international teams studying design safety issues. He liked to describe himself as 50 percent psychologist, 50 percent bright adult.
From 1981-86, Craig earned a law degree at the University of Iowa and practiced law in Cedar Rapids. He described law school study as the most intellectually stimulating period of his life. During those 30 years in Cedar Rapids, Barb and Craig raised their five children. Craig sang in, and took leadership in, the Cedar Rapids Concert Chorale (Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids), was a longtime volunteer board member of Safe Coalition in Cedar Rapids, recipient of a citizenship award in this regard and was actively involved in adoption advocacy and creating appropriate alternative educational settings for children.
Craig was involved in social justice issues including racial equality and women's rights and was a member of the League of Women Voters. Craig was president of the Cedar Rapids Flying Club and flew his family to Oregon and back several times, as well as creating wonderful memories for his own and his extended family with cross country motorhome trips, including the national parks, Florida, New Orleans, the Grand Canyon, the East Coast and a trip to Alaska and back. He was thrilled to travel to China with family in 2008 to bring back his youngest grandchild, Elsa.
The past 10 years in Mason City, though living with a neurological disease, Craig has been involved in the choirs of First Presbyterian Church, served as an RSVP board member and Harding Elementary reading buddy,
enjoyed being a mentor through Youth Task Force, worked at Special Olympics (Noon Kiwanis), promoted inclusion, education, support and equality through participation in PFLAG of North Iowa, was a docent at the Stockman House and was deeply honored to sing bass in the Una Vocis Chorale. In 2006, Craig and Yvonne traveled to Montegrotto Terme, Italy, with Mason City friends to promote Sister City activities and served as hosts and drivers when our Italian friends visited here.
Craig was deeply loved by many people and said recently he wanted to be remembered as an honest and generous person who took great delight in life. As a close friend said recently, "Craig sees the divine in every person." Every February, Craig sent out his valentines to over 135 children and other friends important in his life. He was a regular blood donor most of his adult life and hoped to get well enough to do that again.
Craig is survived by his five children, 31 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
In addition, he is survived by his brother of Anchorage, Alaska, a niece and nephew. Craig's longtime love, Yvonne Addis, who became his wife on Aug. 16 of last year, and her family also survive him.
Craig was predeceased by his parents and his great-grandson, Rhamond.
On a daily basis, Craig expressed gratitude for the loving, competent care he received both at Homestead Assisted Living and Good Shepherd Health Center and through Hospice of North Iowa.