I found out the evening before last from a mutual friend, that Tom Hickey had died. Knowing him a little bit for eight years was a good thing. He was kind and loved animals. Now he and PSPCA’s George Bengal are fighting the good fight from heaven. Homeless pets have another guardian angel watching over them.
But darn it, I am sad.
I liked Tom a lot and before his first stroke we would speak every now and then. My cell phone would ring and I would get “Hey it’s Tom. Got a minute?” and then he would launch into whatever he was thinking. Or he would text me similarly and ask me to call.
I first met Tom on August 21, 2008. I met him through Bill Smith at Main Line Animal Rescue. It was when Bryan Lentz and others were presenting the PA Dog Law Puppy Mill stuff in Radnor Township. Tom Hickey was with the PA Dog law Advisory Board,and at the time Jessie Smith was with Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.
From then on, I would keep in touch with him. He was funny, nice, an animal lover, and adored his family.
He could get controversial and would go to the mat for homeless pets. Animal Rescue is a tough business and he was one of the ones who gave it their all.
In 2010 it was because of him that the people selling puppy mill puppies inside Zern’s were punished for cruelty. They had puppies, little puppies in unventilated fish tanks inside the non-air conditioned Zern’s. Such a horrible horrible thing.
If you did not know him or knew that happened, you would never know he was the quiet force behind that. But he was.
In 2013 when Chester County was gripped with the horror of two family dogs being shot in West Vincent, in what became the movement called Justice for Argus and Fiona, Tom stepped up and rolled up his sleeves, and was a big part of justice actually happening in that situation. I was also as my readers know part of getting justice for the family in that case, and it was a pleasure to work with him on that. He was always positive and encouraging and said the right thing would happen, and it did.
He was also a former member of the board of the Chester County SPCA now known as the Brandywine Valley SPCA, and always, always was a champion of homeless pets. Tom was a board member during tumultuous times at the Brandywine Valley SPCA, but he should be remembered there for his contributions. He was passionate, and incredibly dedidicated. He was also just one heck of a good guy.
Tom was one of a kind. I enjoyed knowing him even a little bit for a few years. To his family I send prayers and hugs and condolences. He was one of a kind and a lot of use will miss him, but I know how much you loved him, and he you.
Good-bye Tom. You were way too young to go. Sigh. Now you and Sharon are together again.
In the end, it’s still that amazing love story between he and his wife. Good-bye Tom.Here is Mari Schaefer’s article on Philly.com – read the whole thing, I have only featured an excerpt:
Updated: JULY 18, 2016 — 3:22 PM EDT
Thomas Hickey Sr., 61, a passionate advocate for animals and the underserved, died of a stroke on Sunday at Jefferson Hospital.
“The canines of Pennsylvania have every reason to be sad today,” said former Gov. Ed Rendell, who appointed Hickey to the state’s Dog Law Advisory Board in 2006. “They lost a great, great champion.”
…Sharon Hickey, who died in January at age 59 of cancer, shared her husband’s love of animals, said Kimberly Cary, their daughter.
“We always rescued our dogs,” said Cary.
Her parents, who both went to Holy Cross Elementary School in Springfield, Delaware County, and then Cardinal O’Hara High School, met as teenagers, Cary said.
“They were together ever since,” Cary said.
Hickey helped start a rescue called Dogshome and also founded DOGPAC, a political action committee focused on promoting laws to protect animals….
Visitation is planned for Thursday at 9 a.m. followed by a service at 11 a.m. at the D’Anjolell Memorial Home, on 2811 West Chester Pike in Broomall.
Donations can be made to the Saved Me Animal Rescue, 860-862 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123.