Barbara Lee Hickman passed away Friday, December 5, 2014 at the William Dunlap Center for Caring in Raleigh. She was born to the late William David and Barbara Mae Hickman in the District of Columbia on March 13, 1936. Barbara grew up in Arlington, VA and following her graduation from The American University began a career with the U.S. Government. Her career emphasis was in personnel management and included the following Federal Agencies: Department of Treasury; Department of Interior; Health Education & Welfare; National Highway Safety Board; Department of Interior; and The Department of Transportation. On her retirement in 1991 from the Department of Transportation she was Director of the Office of Personnel for The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. During her 32 years with the Federal Government Barbara was a regular recipient of Outstanding Performance Awards.
In 1993, following the death of both parents and the sale of their farm in Marshall, Virginia Barbara moved to Raleigh, North Carolina to be near family. She spent her first ten years in Raleigh as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator specializing in the care of small birds. She cared for thousands of birds and became known in her Heritage Point neighborhood as the “Bird Lady.” Her interest in and love of antiques evolved into a business known as Hickman Antiques and Collectibles located first in Cameron Village and then, until her death, at Gresham Lake Antiques. Barbara was a ballet enthusiast and enjoyed the Kennedy Center series while in the Washington area and the Carolina Ballet in Raleigh. By contrast she was also a football fan, loyal to the Washington Redskins despite dismal seasons. Following their first Super Bowl victory in 40 years she arrived at her DOT office wearing her team sweat shirt and waving a pennant. Barbara was an avid reader and loved films. It was not unusual for her to go to the movies at least twice a week. Never daunted by her failing health she enjoyed her Ford V6 Mustang, replete with a handicap sticker, and was nicknamed by one of the full service attendants at her gas station as “Mustang Sally.” Perhaps her greatest joy was as a Chihuahua owner. She owned as many as 22 at one time. Technically they qualified as a kennel, but to Barbara they were simply her family.
In addition to her parents Barbara was preceded in death by her brother David Hickman. She is survived by sisters, Billie Emerson of Duxbury, MA, and Dee Dee Haines of Raleigh, nieces Alyson Covington of Clayton, Belinda Rowland of Apex, and Carol Sarro of Bedford, NH, nephews Scott Emerson of Woodland Hills, CA, and Sean Hickman and Warren Hickman both of Arvada, CO, several grandnieces and grandnephews, and her beloved, lone Chihuahua, Jessie.
In lieu of flowers Barbara requested those who wish to remember her make a donation to any animal rescue or wildlife rehabilitation organization of their choice, Bowman Animal Hospital c/o Dr. Deresiensky for wildlife veterinarian expenses, 8308 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh, NC 27613, The Wildlife Center of Virginia c/o Edward Clark, PO Box 1557 Waynesboro, Virginia 22980, or Wildlife Welfare, Inc. c/o Nancy Wiersma, PO Box 19432 Raleigh, NC 27619.
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Burial will be a private ceremony in the Hickman Family Cemetery located outside of Marshall Virginia at Thumb Run Mountain. A celebration of Barbara’s life will be scheduled at another location in the spring of 2015. Those wishing to visit the grave are asked to contact the family for details.
Barbara chose to write her own epitaph, to be scripted at her request with the love of her family, “She loved the miracle of her life…”