Albert Lester "Al" Hickman, 86, a longtime Pasco resident, died Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.
Albert Hickman was born Feb. 10, 1926 in Walla Walla to Bert and Mary (Sutin) Hickman.
At an early age, Al began working on the family farm growing watermelons. Gardening was a joy to him and he continued to maintain a beautiful, prolific garden each summer throughout his life!
Al attended Yakima Valley Academy and went on to attend Walla Walla College, where he met Patricia Ann "Pat" Hickman whom he married on July 8, 1951 in Toppenish. Following their marriage they made their home in Tacoma, while Al completed his service in the U.S. Army. Al received his honorable discharge in December of 1952. Al and Pat made their home in Walla Walla, Medford, Ore., the Yakima Valley and later Seattle.
In 1959 they moved to Pasco, where they owned and operated Hawthorne House in Kennewick. In 1965 they built, owned and operated Heather House in Richland.
Al became very involved with education and the training of youth while serving as board chairman for Tri-City Junior Academy (TCJA) for more than 20 years.
In 1978 Al and Pat were two of the founders of Cypress Gardens School, later to become Country Haven Academy in Pasco. Al was a founding member and elder of the Country Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church and was active on the church board.
Following Pat's death in 1995, Al was introduced by a mutual friend to a very special lady and was married, surrounded by family and friends, to Millie Kurtz on Father's Day, June 16, 1996, at his home in Pasco.
Millie and Al were definitely team players. Millie is an educator and Food Systems Consultant and Al was very supportive and involved in her career activities---this was evident in their evaluation tour of the SDA boarding academies throughout the U.S. and Canada in 1997 and 1998 as requested by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Al assisted with the evaluation of the physical layout of the kitchen facilities, drawing plans and recommending improvements. He also provided the transportation from site to site-covering 20,000 miles over a span of nine months. In addition, Al also assisted with the community education adult cooking classes that Millie taught at the Kennewick School District for several years.
Millie, in turn, was heavily involved in the functions of Country Haven Academy, serving as instructor in nutrition, food science, health and Bible classes, and serving on the school board in an advisory capacity.
Al is survived by his wife, Millie (Kurtz) Hickman of Pasco; two daughters, Sherri Jo (Ed) Gerking of Auburn, Calif. and Mitzi M. Lundberg of Richland; one son, Albert M. "Bud" (Lisa) Hickman of Pasco; stepchildren, Richard (Katrina) Kurtz of Walla Walla and Kathie (Mark) Heydt of Chattanooga, Tenn.; 18 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Pat; and sister, Iris Schuler.
Services will be as follows:
Viewing will be held Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, from noon to 8 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home, 528 S. Eighth St. in Sunnyside. Graveside services will be held Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. at Riverview Heights Cemetery, 1200 S. Olympia St. in Kennewick.
Celebration of life will be held Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, at 3 p.m. at Riverview Seventh-day Adventist Church, 605 N. Road 36 in Pasco.
Those wishing to honor Al's memory may contribute to: BanglaHope Orphanage, P.O. Box 6853, Kennewick, WA 99336 and Gospel Outreach, P.O. Box 8, College Place, WA 99324.
You may sign Al's on-line memorial book at www.funeralhomesmith.com
Smith Funeral Homes Ltd. and Crematory in Sunnyside is in charge or arrangements.