Robert Hickson, RIP

I have just received the sad news that my old friend Bob Hickson died recently. Bob was a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran who is known to many traditional Catholics for his devotion to the Catholic tradition. Although a few years older than I am, he was my student in a summer school course in Augustan Latin literature at Chapel Hill. It was typical of Bob that his response, when I had given him some Ovid to read, was a mixture of admiration and disgust. "Why he even sneers at the emperor Augustus." It is symptomatic of the age we live in that a man of heartfelt patriotism, who had served his country in war and peace, should have lived more like an exile in his own land. Rest in peace, Robert.

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

2 Responses

  1. Robert Reavis says:

    Thank you Tom for posting this. I have good memories of Mr Hickson. When I was in college he gave a nice talk as a guest professor on the Roman Centurion mentioned in the gospels who asked Our Lord to heal his child from a distance. A few years later as a young Marine I ran into him again at a parish my wife and I attended in Washington D.C. and later still as guests in his home in Virginia. His former students always spoke highly of him and his classes. I always thought it one of those strange mysteries in life that an eccentric diocesan priest who Bob befriended when the priest needed one was the same fellow who gave J Sobran his last sacraments years later.
    The pilgrimage has always been made up of a few saints and a lot of sinners and even Green Beret types like Bob Hickson who have always had their own way of doing things.

    Fighting soldiers from the sky
    Fearless men who jump and die
    Men who mean just what they say
    The brave men of the Green Beret

    Silver wings upon their chest
    These are men, America’s best
    One hundred men will test today
    But only three win the Green Beret

    Trained to live off nature’s land
    Trained in combat, hand-to-hand
    Men who fight by night and day
    Courage peak from the Green Berets

    Silver wings upon their chest
    These are men, America’s best
    One hundred men will test today
    But only three win the Green Beret

    Back at home a young wife waits
    Her Green Beret has met his fate ..,

    May God grant him mercy, rest and peace.

  2. Harry Colin says:

    This is indeed sad news. I have never met Robert in person, but several years ago he was one of the speakers at a conference and I purchased the CDs of the speakers. He gave an exceptional talk on faith and unity and mentioned in his remarks that he had only a few handouts outlining his sources but offered his email to anyone wishing to contact him. I took a chance to send him a request to share his notes, even though I hadn’t attended. He promptly and graciously responded and thus began a series of exchanges through the years. I eagerly purchased the Festschrift that his wife had published and continued to enjoy his occasional insights in various publications and platforms.

    Our nation has lost an authentic soldier-scholar and man of profound faith. Eternal memory and blessed repose and may Our Lord grant consolation to his wife and family.