Darnell “Donny” Hicks, an accomplished singer, died on Monday, Oct 7 2019. He was 71.
He was born in Philadelphia on May 17, 1948 to the late Robert and Margaret Hicks. He was the oldest of 8 children.
In the early 1970s, Hicks attended Temple University and Cheyney State College. He later received his masters degree from Antioch University solidifying his future in the education system. He also pledged Alpha Phi Alpha and was one of the original founding fathers of the Gamma Phi Omega fraternity.
Hicks accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior early in life. As a member of Second Macedonia Baptist Church in Philadelphia, he and his family would often minister in song to the congregation. His rich baritone voice always lifted the spirits of everyone. In the early 1990s he became a member of St. Matthews Baptist Church in Williamstown, New Jersey. There he was an active member in the choir, Awana, Vacation Bible School and was musical director for their summer camp.
“Donny”, as he was affectionately called since childhood, was a man of many gifts. He was not only athletic but was considered by many to be a “creative genius.” He and his siblings lived on North Colorado Street, Marston Street and 68th Ave in the early 1960s. Growing up in West Oak Lane, Hicks attended Olney High School where he ran track alongside his younger brother. Shortly thereafter, he began focusing on his love for music and began singing with various groups.
While at Cheyney, he met his first wife, Jimmene Smith, and from that union they had one son.
In the early 1980s, he met his second wife, Selena Hicks. From this union they had a daughter and a son.
“Everyone knew that he loved his children as well as his nieces and nephews,” said the family in a tribute. “He exemplified this by creating children’s stories, songs and characters. One particular character named “Tippety Top” was his pride and joy. To create a full length soundtrack for the character, he worked with several musical producers including acclaimed producer Bryant Pugh and musical director Verolga Nix. Children and parents became familiar with his songs, as they were performed at schools, local events, and television programs.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his younger brother, Robert “Denny” Hicks and his sister, Gwendolyn Patricia Hicks.
In addition to his wife and sons, Darnell Alexander and Kenneth Hicks and daughter Ayana Hicks, he is survived by: sisters, Marcia Bryant, Carolyn Wright, Cheryl Hicks-Lucas and Sandra Bullock; mother-in-law, Mary Kane; father-in-law, Earl Kane; brothers-in-law, Carl Wright, Orlando Bullock, Matthew Kane, Derrick Kane, Aaron Kane, Terrance Kane and Robert Lucas; sister-in-law, Karen Hicks; granddaughter, Mikayla Hespe; nephews, Robert, Rodney, Kevin, Karl, Terrance, Kelly, Chad; nieces Cherelle, Yolanda and a host of other relatives from the Hicks, Merriweather, Kane, Bullock, Smith, Bryant and Wright families.
Services will be held Friday, Oct. 11 at St Mathews Baptist Church, 245 Glassboro Road in Williamstown, New Jersey. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 10 a.m. The interment is in Rolling Green Memorial Park.
May Funeral Home handled the arrangements.