ashland.news
June 13, 2024

Obituary: Billie Gene Hicks

Billie Gene Hicks
March 6, 2024

June 29, 1931 March 3, 2024

Billie Gene Hicks was born on June 29, 1931, in Dinuba, California. He grew up in the Central Valley of California with an extended family who had moved there from Tennessee. Bill was a star in high school, on the football team and in student government, and later went to Reedley College to prepare for university.

He attended UC Berkeley, earning the first Engineering Geology degree awarded by that school in June 1957. Soon after this, Bill married his first wife, Grace, and in short order had two children, Frances and Tom Hicks. Bill worked for the State of California as an Engineering Geologist, then transitioned to work for Bechtel Corporation.

Bill’s work on the Manapouri Dam project in New Zealand fostered a life-long love for the country of New Zealand. He maintained close ties to the place for his entire life through geology and friends. While traveling home from New Zealand, Bill bought his fabulous 1966 VW Bus in Munich. He had it shipped to the United States and drove it across the country back to the West Coast with his family.

After arriving in San Francisco and working for Bechtel, Bill met his second wife, Kathy, and took a job with the U.S. Forest Service in Yreka, California, and had a daughter, Jenny. They lived in Ashland above the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and he later transferred to the Rogue River National Forest. Bill’s years in the Forest Service were helpful to many people, and he was a mentor to many folks who went on to do great things.

In the 1980s Bill had a daughter, Ariana, with Bonnie Uffman. The late 1980s was an important time for Bill as he stewarded the Big Butte Springs Project to its conclusion, and this is also the period when he met the love of his life and future wife, Paula Daystar.

After retiring from the Forest Service, he became a private consultant and was a dynamic force in local geologic circles.

Bill died peacefully, at home, surrounded by many people who loved him and in no pain on March 3, 2024. Bill will live forever in their memory. He is survived by his beloved wife, Paula Daystar; his children Frances Hicks, Thomas Hicks, Jenny Hicks, Ariana Uffman, Jacob Daystar and Bree Daystar; and his grandchildren Zachary Niles, Jordan Niles, Mashael Daystar, Alexander Daystar, Constantine Daystar, Sophia Daystar and Augustine Daystar; and his dog, Tucker Daystar. He was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Elyana Daystar. 

In lieu of flowers, please donate in his name to one of the following charities: Rogue Climate (rogueclimate.org) or Opportunities for Housing, Resources, & Assistance (ohrahelps.org).

We will be having a celebration of Bill’s extraordinary life in the late summer, and more information will follow. If you have any questions, please contact: Jenny at jenny_91030@yahoo.com or Paula at paula.daystar@gmail.com

March 28: Obituary updated with expanded and corrected information.

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