Ben passed away at 2:00 a.m., Sunday, February 24, 2013, at West Vue Nursing Center.
He was born February 19, 1932, in Fulton County, Arkansas, to George “Dick” Hicks and Hazel Rhoads Hicks. The family moved to Free Union, Missouri when Ben was a baby and later to Moody, Missouri, where he grew up. He graduated from Willow Grove School in 1945, entered West Plains High School that fall and graduated with the Class of 1949. At the beginning of his sophomore year, he moved into town and got a part time job at the Modern Supply Grocery, where he worked all the way through High School. On September 29, 1949, he was married to Lois Collins at the home of Bill and Wilma Atkins. In 1951, Ben and his brother Bill volunteered for the United States Air Force and had basic training in San Antonio, Texas. After serving four years in the Air Force, Ben, Lois and their daughter Debbie moved to Kansas City, where Ben Jr. was born. In 1957, Bill joined Ben in their first venture selling cars. In 1968, Bill and Ben bought the store at 16th and McGee from Bill Ireland which was the largest Chevrolet store in Kansas City. The two brothers were Chevrolet dealers in Kansas City for thirty-five years. Ben and Lois moved back to West Plains in 1985 and opened a General Motors store and in 1989 opened Timberland Pallets with Dennis Franks, which they operated until 2001. Lois passed away on July 17, 2000 and Ben married Marianna Dold Hoover on September 1, 2001. Bill and Ben had a special relationship, they married sisters, Goldie and Lois Collins, and they lived together for nine years and then the rest of their lives they lived in houses side by side.
Ben was a member of the Church of Christ with his membership at the West 160 Church of Christ.
He is survived by his wife, Marianna Hicks, of the family home; daughter, Debbie Gray, husband, Bill, Gardner, Kansas; son, Ben Hicks, Jr., wife, Joy, Arlington, Texas; four step-children, Paula Huddleston, Alton, Missouri, Elizabeth Vesto, Kildeer, Illinois, Rick Hoover, West Plains, Missouri and Randy Hoover, West Plains, Missouri; grandchildren, Ben Hicks, III, Billie Hicks, II, Angie Gray O’Brian, all of Arlington, Texas, Brett Gray and Christopher Gray, both of Kansas City, step-grandchildren, Riley, Alayna and Aiden Vesto, Brian, Christy, Nelson and Marianna Hoover, Mandy, Angie, Stephanie, Paul and Alie Hoover; great-grandchildren, Brigham, Rae, Billie III, Arrington, Ben IV, Patrick and Grayson; step-great-grandchildren, Marcus, Tanner, Colby, Brett and Mason; two aunts, Sharon Rhoads Kelch and Mary Jane Fenwick; and a host of family and friends.
His parents, first wife, brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Goldie Hicks, sister and brother-in-law, Bill and Wilma Atkins, brother, Jim Hicks, sister, Dixie Hicks, grandparents, Alex and Dotty Rhoads and Scott and Mary Hicks, many aunts and uncles, precede him in death.
These words were used by Joe Brown at Dick Hicks funeral and are also words to describe Ben’s life. “He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much, who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children, who left the world better than he found it, who never lacked appreciation of the earth’s beauty or failed to express it, who always looked for the best in others and gave the best he had.”
Visitation will be held from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 26, 2013 in the Rose Chapel at Robertson-Drago Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to Ozarks Medical Center Foundation or CASA, and may be left at Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.
There will be a visitation service at D.W. Newcomer’s Johnson County Funeral Chapel, Kansas City, on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 1:00 p.m., and services to follow at 2:00 p.m. Burial will be in Johnson County Memorial Gardens. Online condolences may be expressed at robertsondrago.com.