1897 - 1986
John Hickman, a violinist and singer, was born in Seward, Nebraska. Beginning at an early age, he spent 10 years in intensive violin study with Carl Frederick Steckelberg, violin teacher at the University of Nebraska, an experience he thoroughly enjoyed. In later years, he often talked of his six to twelve hours of daily practice during that time.
Hickman started teaching music at a high school in Pawnee City, Nebraska, and then taught briefly at a Lutheran seminary in Seward and nearby Union College in Lincoln. At the age of 24, he toured for a year in Canada, giving concerts in 78 cities.
Hickman then taught music at Campion Academy in Colorado and, in 1925, accepted a position at Laurelwood Academy, near Portland, Oregon, where he taught for four years. While at LA he studied voice with Portland composer and teacher E. Bruce Knowlton.
Midway through his time at LA, he gave a recital for a chapel program at Walla Walla College, now University, where the audience was stunned by his technical facility. This led to an invitation in 1929 for him to teach at WWC, where he taught both violin and voice, and his wife, Clara Ericson, gave piano lessons, until 1932.
In 1934, he became a pastor/singing evangelist. He continued doing that type of work until his retirement in 1960, serving in the Nebraska, Chesapeake, Michigan, Colorado, and Missouri conferences. After retiring in Lincoln, Nebraska, he played violin for many years as a member of the Union College Orchestra.
Sources: The 1926 Laurel, Laurelwood Academy yearbook; The Collegian, Walla Walla College newspaper, August 1929; Walla Walla College yearbooks, The Mountain Ash, 1930-1932; obituary, Mid-America Outlook, May 1986; personal knowledge.