Services to Be Sunday For Former Sitkan Sandi Hicks

Sandra “Sandi” Jean Hicks

Sandra “Sandi” Jean Hicks (née Bryce) passed away Oct. 28, 2023, in her home in Juneau, surrounded by her loving family. She leaves an inspiring legacy of tireless support of family, community leadership, and lifelong friendships.
The family invites everyone to join them 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Sitka Elks Lodge for a memorial service and celebration of her life.
Sandi was born Feb. 17, 1944, to Vivian C. (DeWald) Bryce and Harold G. Bryce in Sioux City, Iowa. She was one of four siblings, and the only daughter. A bright and enthusiastic student, Sandi earned good marks, and participated in music, theater and many school and community clubs. She graduated from Riverside High School in 1962, then began studies at Methodist Hospital School Of Nursing.
In February 1964, she met Robert D. Hicks, a young Coast Guard airman home on leave from Bermuda. The couple married on July 9, 1966, in Sioux City.  Sandi left nursing school to  join Robert at Traverse City Air Station, Michigan, where their son, Dale Gordon, was born on Feb. 15, 1967.
In 1968, Robert was assigned to Air Station Annette Island, Alaska, a very wild and remote place at the time. Sandi was pregnant with their second child. There would be no obstetric services in the Alaskan bush, but Sandi was undaunted. She stayed behind while Robert went north, giving birth to their daughter, Lisa Michelle, on Jan. 16, 1969. Newborn infants were forbidden from flying until six weeks of age. Six weeks later, to the day, Sandi boarded a plane with her newborn and toddler, and flew north, leaving behind everything and everyone she knew, for this new adventure.
They fell in love with Alaska. After one more two-year deployment to Michigan, they requested, and were granted, a return to Annette Island Air Station. It was then that Sandi truly learned how to be Alaskan: how to fish and run a boat; how to hunt; how to harvest, prepare, process and preserve subsistence foods; how to make do with what was at hand on the island, or to do without.  She also took her first postal service job in Annette’s tiny, one-room post office. She’d found her home. Sandi remained a proud Alaskan for the rest of her life.
In 1977, the air station relocated to Sitka, and the family moved with it. Although she’d always engaged with her community, it was in Sitka that Sandi really took her place as a cornerstone volunteer and community leader. She continued with the Postal Service, eventually working her way up to managing supervisor, earning many awards for efficiency and outstanding performance along the way. She gave time to nearly every local club and activity, from working concessions for Sitka Little League, organizing and fundraising for Sitka High School Boosters to actively serving in the Women of the Moose, Emblem Club, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Pioneers of Alaska, March of Dimes, Toastmasters and two terms on the local school board.
She played in the local softball league. An active member of the United Methodist Church, she served on the board and sang in the choir. When  construction began of their new sanctuary in 1987, she was there, climbing scaffolding and swinging a hammer.
Sandi was always happy to lend a hand or try something new.  She often performed or crewed with the Baranof Theater Guild. She went from watching to competing in the yearly logging festivals, taking first place in several events. During Alaska Day festivities, she could be found in gorgeous period gowns at the ball, marching in the parade, manning the food booths or officiating the beard judging. And, of course, Sandi was a legendary Keystone Cop. She was known everywhere for her cheerful smile, can-do attitude and rock solid dependability.  
At home, Sandi was the ever-present matriarch. She was involved, supportive and encouraging to every member of her growing family, as well as her ever-widening  circle of  dear friends. 
Sandi and Robert divorced amicably in 1989, remaining friends for the rest of their lives.
Sandi made her last move in 1997, relocating to Juneau. There, she continued her work with the Postal Service before moving on to the unemployment call center and  finally retiring at age 77.
As was her way, Sandi found many ways to meet and serve her new community.  Having survived breast cancer in 2004, Sandi was a regular participant at the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life events. She performed in Juneau’s Symphony Choir. She volunteered countless hours at her beloved Douglas United Methodist Church. She was a staunch ally of the LGBTQ + community, and a treasured supporter of Juneau Drag, known to most performers simply as “Gramma Sandi.”   She lent her voice and advocacy to many causes. She could be found, placard in hand, right up front of any fight, always on the side of fair treatment, inclusivity,  equal access and tolerance.
Somehow, throughout her busy, adventurous life, Sandi prioritized her family above all else.  She was a truly dedicated and loving matriarch, finding or making the time to spend with her children and grandchildren. She could be counted on to be there when the curtain rose for a school concert or play.  She would be there, rain, shine or thunderstorm, for every game played by a great-grandchild.
She knew if someone was struggling, and she reached out to them. When someone made progress, she was generous with her praise. And of course, no one would ever arrive, by boat or plane, even at  3 a.m., without a warm welcome, a hug and a ride home.
She loved so many, so deeply and so well.
She was often asked, “Sandi, how in the world do you do it all?”  She must have heard that question a thousand times.  She would always just smile and shrug.
It was simply who she was.
Sandi was preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Vivian Bryce, brother Larry Bryce, and sisters-in-law Carla Bryce and DeEtte Bryce, all of Sioux City, Iowa; and former husband, Robert D. Hicks of Juneau.
She is survived by siblings Bill (Terri) Bryce and Richard (Denise) Bryce, sister-in-law Carol (Emil) Rumohr , all of Iowa; children Dale Hicks (Gena Johnson) and former daughter-in-law Krisi Selvig of Juneau, Lisa Schwartz (Adam Avila) of Sitka; grandchildren Beckey (Dallas) Peavey  and  Ryan Hicks (Tristan Walsh) of Juneau and Jamie Tomlinson (Jerimy Sheldon) of Sitka; great-grandchildren Dakota Peavey (Dani Ray-Avila), Audrey Anna Brevick, Michael Howard III, Karmen and Isaiah Kane of Sitka, Dillon and Benjamin Peavey of Juneau; many beloved nieces and nephews; her devoted sisters from Emblem Club and the United Methodist Church; her treasured Juneau Drag family; dear friends, far and wide.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the American Cancer Society or to the “Weaving Our Pride” Robe Fund, an inclusive teen project at https://www.juneaucf.org/fund/weaving-our-pride-robe-fund/.

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