Dolly Hicks

Dolly Marie Hicks (Brown)

Thursday, January 6th, 1921 - Wednesday, April 29th, 2020
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Dolly Hicks, 99, of Roanoke, passed away on April 29, 2020. She was born the youngest of 5 on a cold January day in 1921 in Roanoke, VA, to Samuel Griggs Brown and Dollie America St. John Brown, both previously widowed. Remaining in Roanoke until the Great Depression took her father’s job as a railroad car repairman at the N&W shops, the family then moved to the Portsmouth, Virginia area. She and her sister inherited musical talent from their father who “played a fiddle and danced a jig”.

In June 1938, Dolly graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth and promptly enrolled in the Southern School of Beauty in Norfolk and six months later received her certification as a licensed Beautician. When her father died in 1940, she and her mother moved back to Roanoke where she earned a living shampooing and cutting hair while going to business school to better her wages. In March 1943, she quickly gained proficiency in office skills working in the Accounting Section at N&W and by night was a disc jockey at the local USO socials. Her office job was terminated in 1946 when the soldiers started returning from the war and the positions were given to the older armed forces members.

As was the also the norm, she married a GI in October 1946 at 2nd Presbyterian Church in Roanoke. After raising kids for the next two decades she returned to office work as the Church Secretary for Salem Presbyterian, a job which enriched her social network and well-being. The Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 had a profound effect on her generating a lifelong interest in space exploration. Dolly became an avid undaunted night sky watcher, took astronomy classes at the community college and was so proud of achieving an A+ on the final exam.

In the mid 1970’s, she joined the barbershop chorus Roanoke Valley Sweet Adelines and recounted for years stories of the many trips, competitions, and lifelong friends. In 1981 to celebrate retirement, she and a fellow Adeline drove from coast to coast USA and rekindled wartime friendships along the way. First on board with Tai Chi in the Roanoke Valley, she was featured on a local TV station. She favored long hikes up Sharp Top, star gazing on Groundhog Mountain, and leisurely ambling along Longboat Key.

She was extremely frugal citing growing up the Depression. In later years, her favorite activity was sitting on the screened porch, conversing with neighbors, and rocking out with Eric Clapton and the Eagles on a $2 radio bought at the thrift shop.

When asked the secret for living so long independently and in remarkably good health, Dolly would attribute her longevity to daily walks and lots of percolator coffee.

She is interred at the 130-year-old Fair View Cemetery, Roanoke City, Virginia.
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Deborah Graham

Posted at 02:46am
Anna, even though we never officially met in person, I feel like I know you well. You were a loving daughter. You always called once or twice a day. We talked on the phone a lot and communicated about Dolly always wanting the best for her.
She loved you very much, Anna, but you already know that. May I give my sincere sympathy to you and your husband. Stay in touch! Deborah Graham

Deborah Graham

Posted at 02:38am
I was blessed to be one of Dolly's care givers. When I first started caring for her, I called her Mrs. Hicks till one night she said "Call me Dolly." From then on I did. Dolly had a great personality and sense of humor.
One night she said to me, " Will you please spend the night with me? I'll pay you under the table." I laughed. I always got a smile when I walked in and said hi. She always made me feel good and I hope I did that for her. When I first arrived she would say "Sit down and talk. "
We would laugh a lot together.
She knew on my way home at night I checked on my Mom.
One night she said to me, It's 7:00. If you go on now and check your Mom you can spend the night with me." She always brought sunshine into my life. I hope in return I brought sunshine to her life . Dolly, I'm so blessed that our paths crossed in life. You're in a much better place now but you are surely missed by me and other care givers from Home Instead.
I'll never forget you, Dolly! Thanks for being "you". I love you, Dolly! Deborah Graham

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