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Obituary: Lynn Russell Hickerson

ORRINGTON, ME - Lynn Russell Hickerson, 68, died peacefully Friday, April 15, 2011, surrounded by friends in her home. She was born March 8, 1943, in Dayton, Ohio. Lynn grew up in the small ideal college town of Yellow Springs, Ohio, where her father was an engineer for Vernay Laboratories and her stepmother was a social worker. Much of Lynn's childhood was colored by her family's history in civil rights activism and her father's long and precedent-setting fight with the House Un-American Activities Committee, which was won in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1962. While living in Ohio, Lynn spent many happy summers in Maine and in so doing became a Junior Maine guide at Camp Meadowlark. Lynn was also a dedicated flute player and music lover starting from early childhood. She continued her musical studies at Indiana University, where she graduated in 1965. In 1965 she married folksinger Joe Hickerson and moved to the Washington, D.C., area. With Joe she performed locally and nationally and on Folk Legacy Records. Living in Accokeek, Md., south of Washington, D.C., for 14 years, Lynn was an avid community activist, including involvement with Prince Georges County Task Force on Poverty, Alice Ferguson Foundation and President Carter's Task Force for National Heritage Trust Enforcement Committee. In keeping with her lifelong interest in maritime history, Lynn worked for National Trust of Historical Preservation in the office of maritime preservation from 1979 to 1991. Here she facilitated funding for preservation of many Tall Ships, other historic vessels and lighthouses across the entire U.S., as well as managing maritime preservation conferences and promoting legislation for protection of historic shipwrecks. Additionally, she was a leader in the successful effort to change Coast Guard regulations so that authentically restored historic vessels could legally be used for student training. She was particularly pleased by the successful restorations of the Tall Ship Elissa and the schooner Bowdoin. From 1992 to 1994 Lynn lived in Keene, N.H., where she received a degree in marriage and family therapy from Antioch New England. In 1994 she moved to the Bangor area, where she enjoyed remodeling an 1835 house and ""farmette"" with meticulously planned garden and sheep flock - two ewes, one ram and a new lamb as of last week. But her abiding passion was her new career as a family therapist as she worked with the St. Michael's Center Home-based Family Therapy Program until 2006. It was typical of Lynn's commitment to larger community issues that she helped lead a successful legislative campaign to enable state licensing of private family therapists and provide health insurance coverage for their patients. Recently, when asked why she had finally chosen family therapy for her life work, she replied, ""I wanted to prevent needless suffering."" Lynn was predeceased by her mother, Marsha Spofford Russell, in 1947; her brother, Peter Ibbotson Russell, in 1967; her father, Norton Anthony Russell, in 1996; and her stepmother, Margery Stewart Russell, in 2007. She is survived by her son, Michael James Hickerson of Brooklyn, N.Y. A memorial gathering for family and friends will be held June 25 in Orrington and in September at a time to be announced in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The CaringBridge website has many notes and photographs sent by friends and will have information about the Peter I. Russell and Lynn R. Hickerson Foundation that has been established in her hometown of Yellow Springs, Ohio, to provide assistance to college freshmen.