When Sybil Hicks passed away on February 2, 2019, her children knew they couldn’t just write a cut-and-dry obituary for such a remarkable woman.
Sybil lived with Alzheimer’s for years, so it had been a long time since they’d spoken to their mom as they once knew her—a witty and outspoken person.
“We just thought that when she passed, we really didn’t want to have this sort of boilerplate template obituary,” said Brian Hicks, the second eldest of Sybil’s five children.
The siblings wanted to do something that would celebrate their mom’s personality and take this chance to have “one last conversation” with her—albeit only one-sided—with some laughs.
So after Sybil passed away that February morning at the age of 81, Brian and his sisters Brenda and Barbara composed a brazen yet heartfelt first-person obituary for their beloved mother.
The obit, which contains quips such as “I finally have the smoking hot body I have always wanted… having been cremated,” was published on the Reynold’s Funeral Home website and in the Hamilton Spectator.
Nobody would expect an obit to be such an enjoyable read, but this one was. It even brought Sybil social media fame, with her obit having been shared thousands of times on the internet.
It starts with the line, “It hurts me to admit it… but I, Mrs. Ron Hicks from Baysville, have passed away.”
Brian said that his mom often referred to herself as “Mrs. Ron Hicks” when she wanted to make a point.
“She often used that term when she had an opinion about things,” he said. And Sybil often had one.
Although she sometimes used her husband’s name as her own, Sybil had an unusual moniker for her spouse.
“I leave behind my loving husband, Ron Hicks, whom I often affectionately referred to as a ‘Horse’s Ass,'” the obituary read.
“That’s a term she used an awful lot, and I’ll give you an example,” Brian explained. “You know, often when she would say something loud and with authority, my father lovingly said to her, ‘Sybil, you know, can I help you down?'”
“And she would kind of look at him quizzically, and she said, ‘What do you mean?'” he continued. “And he goes, ‘Well, I can help you get down off that soap box if you like.’ And she would then call him a horse’s ass. So that’s sort of how that term of endearment came about.”
Ron—who the obit notes is now being cared for by his “special friend Dorothy”—didn’t mind being roasted by his wife from beyond the grave one last time.
When Brian and his sisters finished the unconventional obituary, they run it by him. As they started to tell him about it, Ron laughed because it was just perfect.
“He just felt so comfortable with the way that we presented the idea and he just said, ‘Carry on and I hope the service is just as fun to celebrate your mother’s life.'” Brian recalled.
Each of Sybil’s kids—who the obit says she “tolerated over the years”—got a special mention in the write-up.
The eldest, Bob, was noted as her favorite, while Brian was “the Oreo cookie favorite.” Barbara was described as “Miss Perfect.”
Brenda “would run to clean the bathrooms when she heard company was coming,” and the youngest, Brian, “wouldn’t eat homemade turkey soup because he didn’t want to be alert looking for bones.”
Although Sybil had a sharp tongue, Brian said she was a “kind-hearted person who always had a smile.”
She worked as a nurse and helped Ron run a school bus company in Baysville for two decades. She also sewed vests for the local Lion’s Club, collected bottles for charity, taught sewing classes, and loved gardening.
The Hicks family home was always open to Ron and Sybil’s friends and their children’s friends. Brian said their pals often didn’t want to leave and would end up staying for the night or over the weekend because they “enjoyed our family dynamic.”
Sybil left behind her husband and his partner, five children, and 13 grandchildren. Judging by her obit, it looks like she lived a life filled with love and laughter—and that’s what really matters.
Read Sybil’s timeless obituary at Legacy.com.