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Captain John L. Hickman, USMC


Captain John L. Hickman, USMC (ret.), died on 13 October 2016 at the Remington in Hamilton. He was born at Logansport, Indiana, 3 July 1939, and graduated from Logansport High School in 1957. John attended the Univ. of Indiana from 1957 to 1958. In January 1959 John saw the light and enlisted in the USMC for 4 years; upon separation he continued his good judgement and enrolled at the U. of Montana. While at the University he was a Sigma Nu and graduated with a BA in history. He was commissioned in 1966 and went on active duty. John had 3 tours in Vietnam, one at sea and 2 ashore. Among his awards are a Bronze Star with a Combat V and 2 Purple Hearts. His first Purple Heart was the result of a mine that detonated under his tracked vehicle and he was knocked unconscious for 7 days. This head injury contributed to his death almost 50 years later; he was knocked unconscious on two occasions about 5 years ago and his decline was rapid.

John knew Marilee and Jim Shockley for 45 years and joined them in the Bitterroot in 1989. John worked at their office until Marilee retired in 2008. He was a member of the Shockley family. As all of his friends and family knew, John was an avid fishermen, a nice person, and a bonafide “character†.

John is survived by siblings Judy Williamson, Charles, Warren (Peggy), William (Patrica) Hickman and their children and grandchildren. All of the foregoing siblings live in Indiana except William who lives in Tennessee.

There will be a party to remember John at the Eagles in Hamilton from 1:00 to 4:00 on Saturday 22 October. The firing squads are schedule to do the honors for John at 2:00 p.m. at the Ravalli County Museum. People at the Eagles can go to the Museum when notified of the arrival of the firing squad from Spokane.

If someone wishes to donate in John's memory please send donations to The Bitter Root Humane Association, P.O. Box 57, Hamilton, MT 59840. Condolences can be emailed to mt.marilee@yahoo.com or mailed to P.O. Box 608, Victor, MT 59875.

Montana Memorial Service

Jim Shockley:

"There was a ceremony for John at the Museum on 22 Oct. The American Legion provided the color guard, the Marine Corps League the firing squad, and four Marines from the I&I in Spokane presented the flag to John's sister, Judy Williamson. There were about 50 people at the ceremony, and maybe 40 at the reception. The family and others said it went well. I really believe that the family appreciated the turnout and the ceremony which went really well.

We plan on putting some of John's ashes in a Shockley plot in Darby with a headstone: we have eight. Another urn will go to Indiana with the government headstone, to be placed in the cemetery which the family uses and a tree will be planted for him at the family cabin. A third portion of the ashes will be put in the Bitterroot by one of the fishing guides John used for about 20 years, the one he called Nice Boy.

As most of you know, John was part of the family and that is why we putting him in Darby in the Shockley section"

Mike Wifler:

"I can hear John speaking those words, 'What do you want'. That is so John Hickman. But like you say, once you got past the shell John was a warm and caring person. He visited me in D.C. while I was doing a tour at HQMC. My kids were about 7,5,3 and 1. He spent one night with us and it took about three weeks to get the kids back to normal. He could amp 'em up at the drop of a hat. He corresponded with Helen Petrowski, our first First Sergeant's wife and he missed sending a Christmas card one year and the next time they spoke she scolded him a bit and he said "Quit your bitchin'" and then showered her with cards. What a character. He used to "grunt" as a response, an acknowledgement or the beginning of a thought long before the Oohhrah came into being. That may have been his version of a war cry, and I miss it."

George Neville:

"I remember the first time I met John when I went into Jim’s office in Victor. I had just moved to Montana in 95. Needless to say I was taken aback when John met me at the front desk he "operated". I don’t remember exactly what he said but it went something like this. What you want? Yes, he may have seemed gruff but damn I got to know him some and the rough shell came off. I could tell he was a caring person especially to Marines, so we got along great when I was around him. God Bless John Hickman!"

Louis Cherico:

"Didn't know John but if Amanda can be judged by his friends we lost a good am and a good marine God Bless Lou "

Mike Wifler:

"Yes, good to know his passing was noted, life celebrated and appropriately put to rest amongst Jim and Marilee's family as he truly became part of their family. Many times over the years I wished for another visit with John, but hey, if I was living in trout paradise with good people embracing me I wouldn't spend a day in California either. I know he found his "happy spot" and found a life where he chose to be. I am at peace knowing he found peace there. Again, thanks to the good people of Victor, Montana, especially the Shockley's, for providing the relationships, the friendship the care and comfort John was seeking. He was a good guy, a good Marine, and a remarkable and memorable friend for over 50 years. Semper Fi."

TBS 1-67 Biography

John L. Hickman - born July 3, 1939, Logansport, IN

Attended Logansport High School, Logansport, IN, 1957

College: Indiana University –Kokomo, 1957-1958; University of Montana, 1963-1966

Enlisted in the Marine Corps 1959, MOS 0311

Entered the PLC Program, University of Montana

Career Summary:

TBS 1-67, July - November 1966, MOS 0302

Three tours RVN, 1967-1971

Awarded two Purple Hearts

Awarded Bronze Star With Combat V

Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, 1971-1973

Marine Corps Base, 2nd MARDIV, 1973-1986, included 8 months in Okinawa and a Med Cruise

1978 - Resigned Commission, enlisted as Staff Sergeant

1986 - Retired as Gunnery Sergeant

1989 - Permanent Retirement status changed to Captain.

Post USMC:

1989-2007, Paralegal Professional, Victor, MT

Principle pastimes/hobbies:

Fly fishing

A September 2016 report stated that John suffered from severe Dementia and resided in Remington Assisted Living, Hamilton, MT.

November 1, 2016