Desmond "Demy" Hicks passed away Wednesday at the Bishop Place Assisted Living Center in Pullman. Desmond Jane Bower made her entrance in the same year as Benny Goodman and Victor Borge. Demy was born in Hillsdale, Mich., three years before the Titanic. William Howard Taft was president. Demy would see 17 more presidents in her centenarian lifetime.
She grew up in a small Michigan town, Chesaning, where people still traveled by horse and buggy. Up until the very day of her passing, she recalled clearly and fondly memories from her childhood there ... like hiding in the laundry chute with friends her initials are still there in that house today. She graduated from Central Michigan University. Her first job was in Detroit driving Model A Fords from the factory to the showroom. But her passion was ballet, and following her marriage to her college journalism professor Maynard Hicks, they eventually moved in 1937 to Pullman, where she would open the Pullman School of Ballet. For more than 25 years she made indelible friendships with former students. Many of them were part of the more than 100 who showed up for Demy's 100th birthday celebration.
You may know Demy from the Spokane Ballet Society (her students danced in the Spokane Music Fest), or from St. James Episcopal Church, or from Water Street in Pullman. But we all really know her from her steady, gentle, jovial wit, humor and personality, which seldom yielded to life's obstacles. Every family phone call began with "Are you okay?" Yes we are, and all the better for having been taught so much in such a quiet courageous way. Thank you, Demy.
She leaves two children Susan Jane Vitums (Vitolds) of Eugene and John Maynard Hicks (Sally) of Seattle. She also is adored by three grandchildren, Kelley Vitums Flood (Chris) of Reston, Va., Heidi Vitums Harken of Knoxville, Tenn., and Kristine Vitums of Herndon, Va. Great-grandchildren are Kaija and Keegan Flood, and Rachel and Rhett Harken. Her step-grandchildren on John's side are Dorian, Dylan, Danae and Johnny. Her beloved husband Maynard preceded her in death in 2000.
We all love you, Demy you'll be missed every day, but we know you are still dancing.
A gathering in her memory will be 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at the St. James Episcopal Church in Pullman. Private interment will be held at the Pullman Cemetery. Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman is caring for the family. Online condolences may be sent to www.kimballfuneralhome.com.