William Dewey Hicks was born April 8, 1934, in Seymour, TN, and passed from this life into eternity peacefully in his sleep on Jan. 17, 2017.
Dewey was the youngest child of Dan A. and Grace Julian Hicks. He was unable to complete his education past the eighth grade because he had to work to help support his family. He helped his father in his grading business until he eloped with his sweetheart, Ava Naomi Jones, on Aug. 8, 1953.
He then moved to Florida and worked for Watkins Motor Lines and drove his 18-wheeler across the country for seven years earning the safe driving award each year. He moved back to Tennessee and joined his father's excavating business, Dan Hicks & Son, growing the small family business into a large corporation employing over 200 employees at one time and winning bids that enabled him to construct a large portion of the UT campus in Knoxville as well as the large Kingston Steam Plant towers. He worked with his fathers company until the '70s when he moved to Jamestown, TN, to start his own strip mining coal business, D&H Coal Company, mining coal in Jamestown and then moving to Crossville to continue working in the mines where he was recognized by the state for his excellence in reclamation efforts.
After the coal business was no longer viable due to the strict government regulations, he closed that business and once again worked in the excavating business as J. Hicks Excavating, Inc. His hard work ethic, fair labor practices and love of family propelled him into a successful businessman in spite of his lack of formal education. He was respected, admired and loved by all who knew him. He was also a faithful member of Memorial Baptist Church in Crossville.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ava Naomi; his children, Mike (Margie) Hicks, David (Donna) Hicks, Jacquie (Jim) Mitchell and Matthew; his beloved nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Dan A. and Grace (Julian) Hicks; sister, Ruby Lee Rogers; brothers, Dan Hicks Jr., Jack Hicks and Elmer Hicks; and grandchild, David Edward Hicks.
Funeral Services were held at Bilbrey Funeral Home on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, at 7 p.m. A visitation and graveside service will be held on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at 2 p.m. at Berry Highland South (formerly Holly Hills) Cemetery in Knoxville.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Way, Memphis, TN 38105 or at www.stjude.org.
Bilbrey Funeral Home, Inc. (www.bilbreyfh.com) was in charge of the arrangements.
Published on January 19, 2017