Noah C. Hickman, 95, passed away on Friday, January 17, 2020, at The Villas of Holly Brook in Washington, Illinois, peacefully and with his family by his side. He was born in Royal, Illinois on July 15, 1924, to Noah C. Hickman, Sr. and Bertha (Lewellen) Hickman. His family moved to Milford, Illinois in 1930, where Noah was raised.
Noah married Helen Sowder on August 10, 1947, in Galesburg. She survives, along with their children Susan (Brian) Butler and Roger Hickman, all of Washington. Also surviving are a sister Earaleta Yoder of Lafayette, Indiana, four grandchildren, Kyle, Emily, Melissa and Lauren, and ten great-grandchildren. Preceding him in death were his parents and two sisters, Bernice and Veronica.
Noah graduated from Milford Township High School in 1942. He enrolled in Western Illinois University in the fall of 1942 where, as a freshman, he was a member of the varsity football team and played in every game for the Leathernecks.
In the spring of 1943, while still a freshman, Noah interrupted his college years in honor of and in service to his country. Noah enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps, where he served in the 8th Air Force as a radio operator and gunner on a combat flight crew on a B-17 Flying Fortress. Stationed at Grafton -Underwood, England, Noah flew thirty daylight bombing missions over Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. He was honorably discharged in October 1945.
After the war, Noah returned to Western Illinois University, where he became captain of the varsity football team, married Helen, and completed his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education in 1949. Noah then began a 33-year career of teaching, coaching and guidance counseling. Noah was a teacher and head football coach at Hamilton, Illinois High School from 1949 to 1955.
Noah and his young family moved to Washington, Illinois in 1955 where he was hired as a history teacher, head varsity football coach and varsity track coach at Washington Community High School. In 1958, Noah founded the wrestling program at WCHS, and he was the program’s first varsity head coach.
In 1961, Noah moved to the guidance counseling department at WCHS, where he served until 1969. He continued his career at Illinois Central College in the guidance counseling department from 1969 until his retirement in 1983. For the eleven years following his retirement, Noah and Helen were tour escorts for Peoria Charter Coach Travel Company.
Noah was inducted into the Western Illinois University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985. He was an original founding member of the Washington Park District Board, serving from 1968 to 1980. He also served as president of the ICC Retirees Association. Noah was a member of the Peoria Area Officials Association, refereeing high school basketball, and was inducted into its Hall of Fame.
One of Noah’s favorite passions was traveling. He and Helen made countless trips throughout the United States and also traveled to 30 foreign countries.
Noah’s greatest passion, however, was to show the love he had for his fellow human beings. His bright smile and energetic, compassionate demeanor impacted and changed the lives of countless people. Noah reached others through teaching, counseling, coaching, friendship, service and simply by coming into contact with another in everyday life. He cherished every relationship.
Visitation will be from 3-7 p.m. on Thursday, January 23, 2020, at Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory in Washington. Funeral services will be held at the Crossroads United Methodist Church in Washington at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, January 24, 2020. Burial will follow at Glendale Cemetery in Washington, with Military Honors being accorded.
Noah was a faithful and active member of Crossroads United Methodist Church in Washington for more than sixty years. Memorial contributions may be directed to his church. The family expresses love and gratitude to the dedicated staffs of The Villas of Holly Brook and Transitions Hospice.
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