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March 11, 1929 - March 3, 2013

Udell Hicks Sr. of Buffalo, a retired steelworker who was active in the African-American community, died Sunday in Sisters Hospital. He was 83.

Born in Bessemer, Ala., Mr. Hicks was the last of 11 children in his family. After graduating from high school, he married Lucille Colston in 1949. The couple moved to Buffalo, and in 1950 Mr. Hicks went to work for Bethlehem Steel Corp., where he was chief union steward and chairman of the building committee of Local 2603, United Steelworkers. He worked there 33 years, retiring in 1983.

Simultaneously, he was a certified real estate agent with J.H. White agency, where he retired in the early 1990s. He also worked for the Newton and Moynihan real estate agencies, and owned several properties until the late 1990s.

A tireless fighter for the rights of African-Americans, Mr. Hicks was a life member and former chairman of the Masten Neighborhood Advisory Council of the Community Action Organization of Erie County.

He also served as the first president emeritus of CAO’s Junior/Senior Drop-Out Program, an after-school tutorial program.

He was a member of the Hamlin Park Concerned Taxpayers Association and an active member of Blaine Avenue Block Club No. 1.

Politically active as well, Mr. Hicks served as Democratic zone chairman for District 28, a position to which he was re-elected for three consecutive terms, totaling 12 years.

His interests included fishing – whenever he could find the time – and he bragged about his expertise as a grill master and ice-cream maker.

Mr. Hicks was an active, 55-year member of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.

He enjoyed singing and used his baritone voice in service of the United Choir, Male Chorus and other choral groups.

He later became a member and deacon of Greater Works Christian Fellowship Church.

In addition to his wife of 63 years, Mr. Hicks is survived by three sons, Udell Jr., Ronald and Dwight, and three daughters, Brenda Russell, Cynthia Russell and Beverly Johnson.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today in Elim Christian Fellowship Church, 70 Chalmers Ave.