Robert J. (Bob) Hickey, of Vineyard Haven and Cooperstown, N.Y., died Thursday morning, June 26, in Cooperstown after a short battle with cancer. He was 75.
Bob was born August 20, 1938, in Oak Bluffs, to the late Edmund B. and Yvonne B. Hickey of Vineyard Haven. He graduated from Tisbury High School in 1957.
For a time he was employed by home builder Roger Engley prior to joining the United States Air Force in April 1958. He was trained as an airborne electronic warfare technician flying highly classified missions in the RC-135 aircraft. A veteran of the Viet Nam War, he amassed over 5,000 flying hours, 3,500 of them in the combat zone. In addition to highly technical equipment service schools, he attended water survival, arctic survival in Alaska, jungle survival in the Philippines and POW camp training in Reno, Nevada, and Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington State. He was the recipient of numerous awards including 18 Air Medals and the Vietnam Service Medal with eight bronze stars. Upon retirement from active duty as a master sergeant after 23 years, he worked for MCI Telecommunications as a field engineer, installing microwave equipment throughout the northeast for nine years. In 1992, Bob and his son, Bobby, opened the Cooperstown Fun Park and he continued to be active in operations for the past 23 years.
Growing up on the Vineyard, Bob was a paperboy for the New Bedford Standard Times for several years. He was also an accomplished horseman and rider for the Roland Chase Stables, and won many first place horsemanship awards at the West Tisbury Fair. Bob also owned horses and was often seen riding through the back roads near his home at Tashmoo Pond. He loved fishing for striped bass and bluefish, and was a participant in many of the bass derbies on Martha’s Vineyard. He divided his time between Martha’s Vineyard and Cooperstown whenever possible, and loved visiting the Island and fishing from his boat. He enjoyed visiting with his many Island friends. A jokester, Bob always loved a good story. He was always ready to help others and loved his family and friends and truly enjoyed their company.
Bob was survived by two sons and one daughter: Michael Hickey and wife, Susan, with their children Joshua, David, Benjamin and Sarah of San Diego, Calif.; Marie Hoag and son Johnny and daughter Piper of Chico, Calif., and Bobby Hickey and his wife, Kelli, with son Bobby and stepson, Michael, of Utica, N.Y. He was also survived by a brother, Edmund, and his wife Trudy of Oak Harbor, Wash., with their sons, Dan, Dave and Bill, and their wives and children.
Calling hours were held in Cooperstown. Military honors were accorded by members of the Cooperstown American Legion and VFW and the Stratton Air National Guard United States Air Force Base Honor Guard from the 109th Airlift Wing.
A memorial service and burial will take place at a later date on Martha’s Vineyard.
A special thank you to the Third Floor Staff at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, Dr. Dan Croft and the Catskill Area Hospice for their wonderful care.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.