Anthony Hickey

Obituary of Anthony Joseph Hickey

May 18, 1949 – Dublin, Ireland

February 8, 2023 - Calgary, Alberta


Anthony Hickey took his final flight on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, at 3:55 pm at Rosedale Hospice at age 73, after a courageous 6-month battle with metastatic melanoma.


Anthony will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Barbara, of 47 years; his three children, Claire Knight (David), Kevin Hickey, and Sinead Hartwick (Steffan), all of Calgary, AB; and his three grandchildren, Kian Knight, and Wilde and Orion Hartwick, all of Calgary, AB. Anthony is also survived by his two brothers and sister-in-law, Gerard Hickey (Jacqueline) of Calgary, AB, Paul Hickey of Dublin, IE; sister Mary Hickey of Dublin, IE, his nephew and niece, Brendan and Noreen Hickey, both of Calgary, AB; as well as numerous families, friends, and the wide community of aviation fans in Calgary, Canada, Ireland, and worldwide. Anthony was predeceased by parents Patrick Hickey and Bernadette Hickey; and brother Peter Hickey. Anthony was born in Dublin, Ireland, on May 18, 1949, and immigrated to Canada in 1970.


Anthony approached life with adventure, having flown on close to 2,500 flights, racing across the world, including 10K races in North Korea, Calgary, Dublin, and Las Vegas, and cruising through retirement with his final and favourite adventure being aboard the Cunard QE2 cruise ship, venturing through many iconic Alaskan ports.


Tony’s love of aviation started in his schoolboy years on the open-air observation decks at Dublin airport in the early/mid-1960s. He went on to enjoy plane spotting, photography, and flying on aircraft for his logbook as centrepiece passions that transcended many aspects of his happy and successful life. His passion for aviation led to a long, happy, and successful career at the Calgary airport, first working for the ground fuel company, and then as General Manager for one of the main FBO facilities until retirement in 2016.


Tony made trips all around the world over the decades with friends, family, and solo, and the next flight possibility was always a happy anticipation. Just a sampling of Tony’s flight and trip highlights include 1990s Yellowknife visits, flights on Buffalo Airways’ classic props, VARIG Electras, zip 737s, the LADE Argentina DHC-6 and F27 visit, three trips to North Korea, of course, his Air Canada Vanguard flights, DC-3 charters to London/Farnborough in the early 1960s, float plane trips in Quebec and Manitoba, multiple visits to Hong Kong Kai Tak and China, his Canadian North 737-300 flight YOW-YFB-YOW with pilot son Kevin working the flight, his very numerous Southwest 737 flights, and many, many more.


Tony’s Air Canada Vanguard flights deserve special mention as they cornerstoned his emigration from Ireland to Canada. Tony flew Air Canada’s stand-alone DC-8 route from Glasgow to Gander so he could connect to the origin point of the Vanguard flight 511 milk run service. The schedule showed the Vanguard departing Gander at 10:45 a.m., and Tony immensely enjoyed 6 legs on the Vanguard that memorable day to Stephenville – Sydney – Halifax – Fredericton – Montreal – Toronto.


His cameras were always at his side. From the 1970s and for four decades, Tony documented the airport’s movements on slide film and later video, preserving and sharing a wealth of Canadian and Calgary airport history for which many now consider him a local historian. Tony’s excellent photos appeared on the pages of NAAN, Aviation Letter, WAF News Monthly, and his beloved Propliner from the 1970s into the 2000s. Anthony is also known for his meticulous precision in creating vintage airliner display models, with his models being actively sought out by aircraft display model enthusiasts across North America.


Outside of aviation, Anthony’s passions included walking, which he demonstrated even while in the hospital battling cancer, often sending screenshots to his family of his 10,000 steps, which he attained walking around the perimeter of the hospital. When healthy, Anthony was often known for leaving his family in the dust, as no one else could keep up with his brisk pace. He was a true animal lover caring for his and his family’s cats, even setting the record at his local vet for keeping his cat Matt on a feeding tube for 89 days until he was well enough to eat independently.


Anthony took great pride in caring for his family, including the love of his life Barbara (whom he affectionately referred to as Barbie, Her Highness, The Manager, Director-of Flight-Ops), and his three children. Often found putting his award-winning mechanic skills to work on their vehicles - he would be down at pick-and-pull with a new part in hand at the mere mention of vehicle distress.


Always a gentleman, Tony lived his life with integrity and fearlessness. He entertained his family and friends with his wit and grounded them with his wisdom. If you came to him with a problem, you would likely walk away with practical advice and a bluntly delivered hilarious one-liner. He set an example for friends and family that will not soon be forgotten - life is short, so take the flight.


The family would like to thank the aviation community for the incredible support bestowed upon Anthony and his family. The family also wishes to thank the Foothills Hospital Staff and the Rosedale Hospice staff for their care and compassion.


"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h'anam dílis".


Funeral Services will be held at McInnis & Holloway (Chapel of The Bells, 2720 Centre Street North, Calgary, AB), on Friday, February 17, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. Reception to follow in the Hospitality Centre at the Funeral Home. Graveside Service to follow at Rocky View Garden of Peace Cemetery. Family and friends who are unable to attend in person are invited to join Tony’s service streamed live (see below) on the day of the service. For those who are unable to view live, a recording of the service will be posted. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed here.


In living memory of Anthony Hickey, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 Centre Street North, Calgary, AB T2E 2V6, Telephone: 403-243-8200.




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Funeral Service

10:00 am
Friday, February 17, 2023
Chapel of the Bells
2720 Centre St N
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
(403) 276-2296
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