April 1, 1955 — May 5, 2019
Just days before Alan "Jay" Wicks died, he told friends he been born "on the wrong side of the tracks" in Niagara Falls, but his path in life had more than made up for it, with two careers and a marriage to a wife he loved to brag about.
Mr. Wicks, 64, struggled with cancer in recent months, but he did not let that slow him down in working around his home in the Village of Lewiston or helping others in need. That was why his death, despite his illness, came as a shock when he died unexpectedly Sunday at his home.
A retired Army Reserve drill sergeant and maintenance supervisor at the Pyron plant in Niagara Falls, the sometimes-blunt former soldier was known to have a heart of gold.
"Most men on this planet have no one to talk to. I did. Some have best friends; some have drinking buddies. I had Jay Wicks, my only friend, and I loved him," said Jason Truscott, a retired military combat veteran.
Though Mr. Wicks made it clear that he was determined to win the battle against cancer, he maintained a sense of humor and would sometimes say, "I've made my peace and I know where I'm going. I only hope they let me be a wing washer when I get up there."
He and the former Cheryl L. Duncan were married Nov. 14, 1981, and Mr. Wicks often mentioned to his friends that his wife served as a credit union manager.
"My husband was very, very funny. He could tell stories and have the whole group laughing until their sides hurt and they were crying," Mrs. Wicks said. "I loved him very much."
Mr. Wicks retired two years ago from Pyron after 40 years. His wife retired at about the same time, and together they oversaw extensive remodeling of their home and did some traveling.
After attending Niagara Falls Public Schools, Mr. Wicks enlisted in the Army and served in Germany from June 29, 1973, until he was honorably discharged June 19, 1976. He then entered the Reserves and retired Jan. 15, 1999. A member of the LaSalle Sportsmen’s Club, Mr. Wicks enjoyed fishing, hunting and gardening.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by three sisters, Joanne McCartney, Paula Pitarresi and Katrina Lingenfelter; a brother, David Heughan; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and cousins.
Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday in the Otto Redanz Funeral Home, 2215 Military Road, Town of Niagara.