Emily Katherine McGowan Hicks, 90, passed away peacefully on October 21, 2023. She was preceded in death by her parents, W. C. and Mattie Lou McGowan; her loving husband, Grady O. Hicks; and her grandson, John Michael Thomas. She is survived by her sisters, Nancy McGowan Cañas and Helen McGowan Smith; sisters-in-law Laura Ann Norris and Becky Estes (Richard); children Eric Hicks (Judy) of Pell City, Lisa Hicks Thomas (Mike) of Austin, Texas, and Keith Hicks (Jane) of Hoover; grandchildren Kelly Hicks, Laura Hicks, Ellen Thomas Levine (Derek), and Grady Thomas; great-grandchildren, Grady Levine and Thomas Levine; and many special nieces, nephews and friends.
Emily was born on October 28, 1932 in Jasper, Alabama. She had many happy memories of her childhood spent in Eldridge, Alabama. The McGowan family later moved to Jasper where Emily graduated from Walker High School. She attended Alabama College for Women in Montevallo earning a Bachelor's degree in education, later earning her Master's degree as well as additional advanced teaching certifications at Samford University. While a student in college she attended Montevallo First Baptist Church, where she met Grady one Sunday morning. Emily and Grady were married on September 18, 1954 and spent 58 wonderful years together before his passing in August, 2012.
Her career in teaching began in the fall of 1954 and continued for more than 30 years. Most of those years were spent teaching seventh grade Social Studies at Pizitz Middle School in Vestavia. She truly loved being a teacher and along with fellow teacher and close friend, Jean Massey, developed an innovative Social Studies curriculum that was later adopted by the school board. She was a former longtime member of Green Valley Baptist Church in Hoover where she was active in Sunday school and also helped in the food bank. She and Grady joined Riverchase United Methodist Church in their later years and were active members in the Seekers Sunday School class. Emily enjoyed singing in the gospel choir at RUMC and was active in the Good Samaritans Program visiting local nursing homes where she often played the piano as accompanist. She was a talented artist and enjoyed watercolor painting as well as pen and ink drawings. She also enjoyed writing and published three books about the ancestry of her family. Emily was a devout Christian and lived her life accordingly. The most important things to Emily were her close relationship with Christ and her unconditional love for her family and friends. She lived a long, fulfilling life filled with happiness, fun times with family and friends, and service to others. Emily will be remembered for her sweet smile, gentle demeanor, kindness, and compassion. She will be greatly missed by those that loved her.
Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, October 27, 2023 with visitation at 10 am and the service at 11 am in the Riverchase Room at Riverchase United Methodist Church. Burial will follow at 2 pm at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, Alabama.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be made to the Alabama Baptist Children's Home & Family Ministries or a favorite charity.