William J. Hickey
12/17/1961 — 01/19/2012
We first met at a local theatrical production of South Pacific. He was the island captain and I was just an island nurse/native (otherwise known as an extra). We dated, got engaged, and married 4 years later in 1987.
Bill had an in-situ melanoma removed from his left temple in 2002 with clean margins. As per the doctor’s advice, he always went to his dermatologist every 6-12 months for rechecks. These visits often included multiple excisions (mostly chest and back), but the pathologies came back normal, benign, or dysplastic nevi every single time.
On February 19, 2011, after a severe headache and altered mental status, the ER told Bill he had four brain tumors, a lung mass, and a liver mass. Bill was able to return to work for another 5 months before growing weak and exhausted. After two rounds of whole brain radiation, three different chemotherapies, multiple hospitalizations BUT a great surprise 50th birthday party, a movie theatre-filled Christmas Day, and traveling to see his alma mater’s hoops team play in person on New Year’s Day, Bill succumbed to pneumonia on January 19, 2012.
Bill enjoyed working for several well-known aerospace firms throughout the country and was looking forward to getting his second Master’s Degree (MBA) after two more courses. Besides living “everywhere,” his many business trips took him around the US and to India, where he managed teams of engineers who had the utmost respect for him. This past spring, Bill got to fly in a fighter jet, a life-long dream for this avionics software engineer and private pilot. He was so excited to tell everyone he met about his upcoming trip last summer to the world-renowned and awesome Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, to meet Robert McWilliams, MD.
With being on Zelboraf for the last 4 months, he experienced no pain whatsoever – thank you, Zelboraf. Bill was youngest person in the rehab facility (aka nursing home), but he was always an A+ patient and able to impress all of his therapists. He loved to see the pet therapy dogs come to visit him there, and the hospital made sure that none of his appointments ever conflicted with the pet visits to his room. This was because he had two collies and four cats at home missing him very dearly.
Bill was the bravest person I ever met, never wanting to tell anyone when he was in pain or uncomfortable. He didn’t want to be considered a wimp.
I miss you so much each and every day I am here without you. Love you, Bill.
Maureen Hickey, wife