ANNIE PEARL HICKS
(A true gem of a soul.)
On May 19, 1927, Annie Pearl (a true gem of a soul) was born in Columbus, Georgia to Mozelle Harris and Willie Billingslea, the second of the only two children they would bear. She grew up as a sweet, Georgia peach and at the age of 11, she accepted Christ as her Lord and Saviour. Thereafter, the essence of her strong faith, principles, high standards, inherent caring for others and integrity manifested itself in all she did throughout her earthly sojourn — reflecting her life-long favorite hymn,
While attending Spencer High School in Columbus, Georgia, tall, long-legged basketball playing Annie Pearl met the dynamic, creative young man (Carl Hicks) who would become her partner in life for nearly half-a-century .
At the tender ages of 15 and 17 (with permission of Annie Pearl’s mother, of course), the couple married before Carl was dispatched (Air Force) to the Pacific arena of WWII (where his service on Iwo Jima would result in his being awarded a bronze star). Reunited, upon Carl’s return from overseas combat, the couple moved with their young daughter to Cincinnati, Ohio to pursue opportunities in late 1940’s, just barely “,up north” southern Ohio, where relatives with whom they had been communicating were already living and finding work to some degree of satisfaction.
From the outset the couple embarked upon a deliberate plan for family development. Carl was industrious and Annie Pearl was solid as a rock through her faith. Their individual strength combined with allegiance to family relationships would stand them in good stead as staunch touchstones of Annie Pearl’s life and values forever thereafter. Despite her own small nucleus of a family, Annie Pearl tried to retain active ties with relatives not only in Georgia and Ohio, but Michigan, Connecticut, California, and elsewhere.
Then, oh then, for Annie Pearl Hicks (and her small nuclear family), the rest, as the saying goes, is history. And what a history the Lord destined for her life.
As early as 24 years of age, Annie Pearl knew the strong moral compass for her life perspective and a world view solidly anchored in her faith. Soon after settling into southwestern Ohio in 1949, Annie Pearl found herself involved in local history — as in accepting to become the first African-American hired at Kathman Pharmacy (after a successful boycott of the pharmacy located next to the Regal Theater in the predominantly “Negro” neighborhood). Executing that early initial civic benchmark employment with professionalism and learning pharmaceutical business in the process, Annie Pearl continued her educational pursuit with business curricula and explored other employment options. After, briefly working at a local hospital then several years at Gruen watch company, she identified her ultimate career focus: the Department of Treasurey.
At the Department of Treasury Annie Pearl would be among members of the first generation of local African-American technological employees at the regional Internal Revenue Service.
Annie Pearl and her colleagues acquired top-notch data entry skills, serving at the forefront of the Department of Treasury’s operational advancement and efficiency. Annie Pearl herself would prove not only highly productively — garnering awards and special commendations throughout the years but also established a stellar track record of resolving contentious cases through prudent, non-abrasive methods. She was respected by all and often requested to address complex tax and human resource issues — including providing expert testimony at court proceedings. Not surprisingly, she became an Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor, given her natural persona and authenticity.
Always multifaceted, Annie Pearl’s professional accomplishments were matched by her wide-ranging community roles involving not only churches but youth groups, voting and registration campaigns, providing her own home as a voting locus, cheerleading all manner of community programs encouraging positive youth development.
At only age 24, she was a founding member of Cincinnati’s Eastern Star Elisha Chapter #89 also active in the community and on the civic side, energetically participating in forward-thinking local “colored” organizations — e.g., membership in the Future Outlook League (FOL), the local NAACP chapter and the Order of Eastern Stars in Ohio. Characteristically, through decades of devoted from the 1950’s into the first decade of the 21st century she served in the Amaranth Grand Chapter OES, in multiple capacities,
Grand Associate Advisor, Scholarship Committee and Grand Girls Assembly
and numerous others.
In every field of endeavor and contribution, Annie Pearl brought grace, quality, dignity and trust.
That included bowling where she became the first African-American to serve on the Cincinnati Women’s Bowling Association Board of Directors, including serving as First Vice President of the Board, and
as Chairperson of the Bowling Proprietors Council. At major events, she was often the one requested to provide invocation for the bowling establishment. Everyone was drawn to her spirituality, natural affability and humanitarianism.
In her Church activities, Annie Pearl served diligently from the late 1940’s when she became affiliated with Peace Baptist Church then located in the West End, under Rev. Joseph Hudson, later Rev. D. L. Motley and Pastor Gregory Chandler, Sr.
along the way contributing dynamic participation and leadership to Nurses Guild,the Church’s administrative and community responsibilities and growth — liaising with the Boys and Girls Club organization as the PBC moved
to Avondale. She served as Administrative Assistant to the Pastor and served on the Board of Whole Again.
When Annie Pearl retired from the Department of Treasury after her 30-year extraordinary career, she had host of awards and honorific recognition under her belt. To cap it all, she was accorded the Department of Treasury’s highest award:
The Albert Gallatin Award
Throughout her personal, professional and community life, Annie Pearl was an exceptional soul who captivated the heart of everyone she met.
Those who wish to share their memories and feelings are welcomed to place them on the website for Annie Pearl Hicks
On the website, there are links to more details of many of the events in Annie Pearl Hicks’ exceptional life as well as insights into her amazing soul, as expressed in the sentiments submitted by family, friends and colleagues in various realms.
HER FAVORITE BIBLE PASSAGE:
TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL THINE HEART; AND LEAN NOT UNTO THINE OWN UNDErSTANDING.
IN ALL THY WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, AND HE SHALL DIRECT THY PATHS.
Proverbs: 3: 5 – 6
MY FAVORITE VERSE FOR/WITH MOTHER:
BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD.