Margery DeChant Hickman, 93, of Berlin, Md., and formerly of Millville, Del., and Philadelphia, Pa., passed away on June 6, 2017, at Coastal Hospice at the Lake in Salisbury, Md.
Hickman grew up in Philadelphia. She met her future husband, Tom, while they were both students at West Chester State Teachers College. When he enlisted to fight in World War II, she waited for him, finished her degree and landing a prestigious teaching position in the kindergarten of the Temple University Demonstration School. When Tom returned from combat, they were wed immediately, on Aug. 14, 1945. They were married for 69 years.
A few years later, the Hickmans moved to rural Millville, Del. They bought an abandoned, overgrown farm along Whites Creek and, over many years and with the help of family and friends, they built a house and a working farm. There they raised ponies, sheep, hogs, chickens, the occasional heifer and their lucky children. For many years the conditions were rustic, with no plumbing, electricity or phone.
Neither one knew much about farming, but they made it work through a combination of ingenuity, good advice from neighboring farmers, hard work, determination and lack of other options. Hickman was the resident “veterinarian” and the problem-solver. As Tom said late in his life, “Your mother was the brains; we’d have never made it without her,” which everyone had always known.
Hickman taught kindergarten and fourth grade at Lord Baltimore School in Ocean View for many years. When she retired, she was delighted to have time for her knitting and needlework. Hickman was a master knitter, having been taught by her own mother, and she was rarely without a project. She began a second career working in a needlework shop and teaching knitting.
Hickman will be remembered for her many years of teaching and for the beautiful needle art she created. She will especially be remembered for her gracious strength, her good-natured approach to life’s realities and her ready sense of humor, all of which, remarkably, remained vibrant through the last several years of physical decline and challenge.
Hickman was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas W. Hickman; brother, Edward S. DeChant; daughter-in-law, Denise; and granddaughter Annie. She is survived by her three children, Bruce, Katharine “Taf” and Nancy; two grandsons, Adam, and Matthew and his wife, London; and two great-grandchildren, Austin and Evan.
A memorial service was scheduled for July 11, 2017, at Melson Funeral Services, Ocean View, Del. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Memorial Donations; P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142; Memphis, TN 38148, or to Coastal Hospice; P.O. Box 1733; Salisbury, MD 21822-1733. Condolences may be made sent online at www.melsonfuneralservices.com.