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Jay Allen Hickerson

Jay Allen Hickerson
Jay Allen Hickerson

Jay Allen Hickerson, 87, of Leesburg, FL, formerly of New Haven and Hamden, Connecticut, died peacefully at home on Wednesday, August 3, 2022.

Jay was born on November 25, 1934, in Highland Park, IL to his parents, Dr. Jay Allen and Elizabeth (Hogg) Hickerson. He was a graduate of Wilbur Cross High School, Class of ’52. Jay was captain of the Wilbur Cross tennis team and won the State Tennis Singles Crown in May 1952. Jay served as the tennis pro at the old Woodbridge Country Club in 1957. While still in high school, Jay was a soloist with the Johnson Junior Symphony Orchestra in 1952.

Jay received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theory from the Hartt College of Music (1956) and a Master’s Degree (Education) from Southern Connecticut State University (1967). He was a founding member of the New Haven Chapter of the Connecticut State Music Teachers’ Association and served as its first president.

Jay served in the Army National Guard and in 1958, won accolades as a table tennis master. As a participant in the First United States Army Table Tennis Championship, he was declared both a singles and doubles champion.

After several years as a teacher in Bethany, CT, Jay devoted his life to music. He was an incredibly talented pianist and entertainer. He served as music conductor, piano teacher and pianist with various orchestras and bands throughout Connecticut and other northeastern states for more than 45 years.

Jay was a radio historian, and, as Chairman of FOTR, Inc. (Friends of Old-Time Radio, Inc.) a non-profit corporation, for 36 years ending in 2011, he organized an annual convention which was heavily attended by collectors and fans of the radio medium, as well as actors, actresses, writers, directors, and others who had been and still were active in the entertainment industry. In connection with his radio-related activities, Jay published a national newsletter for collectors. He authored several books on the subject and served as a consultant for Ken Burns’ 1991 documentary Empire of the Air.

In the words of one of Jay’s radio hobbyists, Jay is a uniquely American hero in that he devoted so much time to creating something so special without much return economically. At the end of your life being able to say you did something unique, special, uplifting that a generation will remember, is the best legacy anyone can have.

Jay touched so many people’s lives through his teaching, his organizational skills and his music. In his retirement, Jay entertained at many assisted living and nursing homes in Connecticut and in Florida. Jay accompanied the Legacy of Leesburg Chorale for nine years, and most recently the community’s Theater Legacy.

Jay is survived by his wife, Karen (a professional singer whom he worked with often), his two children, Robin Baumann (Neil), of Montana, and Craig Hickerson (Kim), of Florida, two stepchildren, Dr. Elisa M. Katz, (Don), of Illinois, and Evan S. Katz, CFA (Shari), of Illinois, four grandchildren, two step-grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. Jay is also survived by his brother, Joe Hickerson, of Oregon. Jay was predeceased by his son, Jeffrey Hickerson.

In lieu of a funeral, a Memorial Celebration of Life will take place in Legacy, at a future date to be determined.

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