Published 4:25 pm Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kenneth Hart “Sparks” Hickman N5CM (alias Big Papaw), 94, went to be with the Lord after a bout with pneumonia on Sept. 14, 2012, after surviving Hurricane Isaac. He was a WWII veteran and an amateur ham radio operator for about 80 years. Kenneth was born in Angola Oct. 29, 2012.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Jesse Warren Hickman and Lena Hart Hickman, his wife, Opal Knight Hickman, who he married April 21, 1943, his daughter, Evelyn Kay Hickman (died at 5 months from a heart condition) and his son, Kenneth Larry Hickman who passed in May 2007. He is also preceded in death by his brother, Daniel Hickman, and his sisters, Sadie Lee Russell, Lucille Dora Ludwig and Alice Earline Russell.

He is survived by his sister Ethel Joyce (Mickey) Landrum and his son Gary Carlton Hickman (Sylvia). He has six grandchildren, Gary E. Hickman (Alice) Christina L. Hickman, Kevin Hickman, Daniel Hickman, Brandon J. Hickman and Timothy Cotton, two extended children, Tony and Kate Broussard, and four great-grandchildren, Caleb, Brandon Lee, Haley and Jenna. He was adopted great-granddad to Ryan, Peyton and Arianna. He will be missed by a host of nieces, nephews and friends (especially Mary Ann, Marie, Boyo, Nickie, Noah and Elijah.)

He was known as Mr. Ken tooling around LaPlace on his scooter with his pith helmet protecting his head and his red flag flapping in the breeze. He was known to be sleeping in the produce department at Wal-mart waiting for fresh kale and at Sicily’s having lunch with his friend Nickie, her mother and her two sons, Noah and Elijah. He was loved by the kids as he beeped his horn at them from his scooter. Kenneth lived most of his life in Kenner, briefly in Oklahoma, back to Kenner, then Metairie, Baton Rouge and finally settling in LaPlace from 1999 to the present.

He was always striving to learn more and attended various schools thru the Civil Air Patrol, furthering his education in radio certification. He was a licensed ham operator spanning 70 years. He worked closely with MARS for 55 years and flew a Cessna and worked as a flight instructor and telegraph operator. He served his country in WWII thru the Army, Merchant Marines and the Civil Air Patrol. His love was radios, and he was a ham operator from before the war up until the day he died. He helped with communications through many storms and received an award for his work during Hurricane Betsy.

A memorial service will be held at Millet-Guidry Funeral Home on Oct. 27, 2012, with visitation from 11 a.m. to noon and the service from noon to 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the VFW or VA home in Reserve. Condolences can be sent to 49 Country Club Drive, LaPlace, LA 70068.