Nelson Lawson Hickling

May 27, 1934 - January 22, 2017

Nelson L. Hickling, 82, passed away peacefully of Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s disease January 22, 2017. He was born May 27, 1934 in Eden, New York to Emerson F. Hickling and Muriel Nelson Hickling.

He majored in geology at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, where he also played in the Air Force ROTC band and campus jazz groups.

Nelson joined the S. S. Geological Survey in Washington, D.C. in 1958. He met and married Diane Hiltenberger in 1960. They raised four children and he completed an MS degree at American University in 1965. During his 31-year career as a research geologist he was part of the Lunar Research Program sponsored by NASA and was one of the small group of investigators worldwide who studied the lunar rocks returned by the Apollo 12, 14, 15, and 17 astronauts. He co-authored several papers which were presented to the Lunar Science Conferences at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

He completed mineral research evaluations of several Indian Reservations in the Rocky Mountain West, including the Wind River Indian Reservation (Shoshone and Arapaho) in Wyoming and of the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation in New Mexico, sponsored by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. His publications on Petrologic research rounded out his earth science career.

In 1989 he married Catherine J. Vollmer in the Washington, D.C. area, retired from the USGS, and they moved to Ashland, Oregon. In his first weekend in Ashland he played trumpet with the Hillah Temple German Band at an Oktoberfest at Mt. Angel, Oregon. He was invited to play in the Symphonic Band (21 years) and Jazz Ensemble (17 years) at Southern Oregon University. Nelson joined the Ashland City Band where he played for 14 years and led the Ashland City Band Dixieland Group. He played trumpet in musicals and in other bands, including the Swing Kings Big Dance Band and other jazz and brass ensembles in the Rogue Valley. He began playing in the American Band College Director’s Band in 1992. A few years later he was asked by Max McKee to join his ABC and WIBC staff. He spent 15 years on staff and was joined by his wife, Cathy, during the last 10 years of his tenure. More recently he organized his own band, the Dixie Connection, playing at public events, concerts, and parties.

In addition to his love of music and photography, Nelson completed his computerized family genealogy history using the earliest DNA testing. He was an intellectual and a true gentleman.

Nelson is survived by his wife, Catherine J. Hickling; his children, Rex (Mary) Hickling, Boulder, Colorado; Forrest (Bonnie) Hickling, Tulsa, Oklahoma; Leisha Hickling (Wayne) Harrelson, Frederick, Maryland; and Leif (Luciana) Hickling, Rockville, Maryland; stepson, Sean (Andrea) Kelleher, Boise, Idaho; five grandchildren; sister, Doris Kopf, Grass Valley, California; and brother, Harley Hickling, Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was preceded in death by sisters, Lois Muriel Hickling and Filis Hickling Carine; and brother, Douglas Hickling.

The family would like to give special thanks to the loving care provided by Nelson’s caregivers at the Ashland Hillside Elder Care Residence. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

Arrangements are in care of Litwiller-Simonsen Funeral Home, Ashland, Oregon. Cremation has taken place and inurnment will be at Scenic Hills Memorial Park, Ashland, Ore.

We invite you to celebrate Nelson’s life with a memorial service and reception to be held at 9:00 a.m. Friday, April 21, 2017 at the Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites, Ashland, Ore.

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