Deborah May Hickman was born in Ottawa on December 19, 1950, the second daughter to Richard and Margaret Hickman. She grew up there with her two sisters and brother in a tight knit, loving family. She described her young self as a “tomboy,” loving vigorous outdoor fun. This matured into a passion for being in nature: camping, hiking, skiing, canoeing, gardening and helping her father make maple syrup. In high school, her deep love for literature began to bloom and led to a lifelong hobby of writing stories for herself and her family.
In 1974, Deborah and Chris moved to Nova Scotia, their home ever since. In 1975 Deborah enrolled in the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, graduating from there in 1978 with a BFA and a speciality as a tapestry weaver. Throughout her life she created many tapestries featured in exhibits and sold at home and abroad. This unusual talent led to her employment in 1980 as Manager of a “Weave Shop” in the small Arctic hamlet of Pangnirtung on Baffin Island. That shop, now known as Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts and Crafts, includes a Craft Gallery, Print Shop and a world renowned Tapestry Studio. Deborah’s role in the development of Inuit tapestries was huge! Working with the extremely talented Inuit weavers, Deborah assembled and promoted high-profile shows of their work across Canada, in the USA and in Europe. Accompanying her Inuit coworkers abroad was always a highlight. Pangnirtung became a “second home” for Chris and Deborah, living there for several years and visiting frequently. It was a dream come true for Deborah who was fascinated with life in the North even as a child.
Deborah never thought of herself as a world traveller but she was brave and sought out adventure. Her travels took her to as far north as Ellesmere Island and as far south as Indonesia. She travelled to many European destinations plus North Africa, Costa Rica and the Caribbean.
At home in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Deborah was an activist artist, bringing art workshops to schools around the province and encouraging creativity locally in Lunenburg County. Her crowning achievement here was the central part she played in launching the Mahone Bay Centre, becoming the first President of the inaugural Board of Directors.
Deborah was a devoted mother to her children Dylan and Leigh and a steadfast support to Chris, her partner for fifty years. She was delighted to share the birth of her first grandchild Bogdan born to Dylan and Ashley McDaniel last August. She is survived by all four along with her very dear mother Margaret Hickman and siblings Lynda, Pam and David. She had a wide circle of friends who admired her gentle manner, her kind, loving approach to all things, her delicious sense of humour and her vibrant artistic talents. She combined a strong world view with an appreciation of simple things such as collecting rocks on the beach, singing to her cat or walking in the woods. She leaves a space in the hearts of all who knew her but it is a space she would wish to gradually be filled again with joy.
Thanks go to Deborah’s wonderful family doctor, Dr. Cecilia Newton and to all those at Lunenburg Family Health, the staff of Fisherman’s Memorial Hospital, especially those in the Emergency Ward, and to the Palliative Care Team.
Deborah did not wish a funeral but she did want family and friends to be able to gather in private celebrations of life both in Ottawa and in the Mahone Bay area. These will take place over the summer. Donations in Deborah’s memory can be made to causes she felt passionately for: the Heart and Stroke Foundation and/or the UNHCR
Arrangements entrusted to the care of Mahone Funeral Home, P.O. Box 200, 32 Parish St., Mahone Bay, NS B0J 2E0 (902-624-8241). Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.mahonefuneral.ca
Please be advised, the office of Mahone Funeral Home is not able to receive memorial donation funds at this time. Please inform the Family of your memorial contribution through our website. Your memorial donation payment may then be sent directly to a requested charity or one of your choice.
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia
Park Lane Mall, Level 3
P.O. Box 245, 5657 Spring Garden Road
Halifax, NS B3J 3R4
Toll free: 1-800-423-4432
2 St. Clair Avenue W.
Email: [email protected]
Toll Free: 1-877-232-0909
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