Florence Revzin Hicks, one of Berkeley’s most creative and energetic teachers, died on Dec. 10, 2016. She was 96.
Florence had a rich, long and full life and was lucky to have so many loving friends and family.
Florence was raised in Jamaica, Queens, New York, went to Far Rockaway High School, Queens College (first class), LA City College, and UC Berkeley. In 1941 she married Julian Massengill Hicks who was a Merchant Marine.
Florence quit school to work in a war materials machine shop in Oakland during WWII. After the war she worked as a waitress and a case worker with left-wing groups in Los Angeles. After divorcing Julian in 1951 she worked at the ILWU as a secretary, then with the YMCA as a youth leader.
Florence graduated from San Francisco State College in 1961 with a teaching credential and taught in Richmond and later Berkeley for over 20 years.
After retirement she was active in the peace movement and was incarcerated at Santa Rita along with hundreds of other demonstrators at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. She also went to Nicaragua to assist with the Sandinista revolution. Florence traveled to China with the Chinese Friendship Association, Alaska, Mexico, Russia with her sister Ruth, and Europe.
Her Berkeley students will always remember going on camping trips with her, learning to fish on the pier or swim at the YMCA. Doing organic gardening, making dragons and pot stickers for Lunar New Year or latkes and dreidls and playing with gelt for Chanukah. Others might recall making posters for the farm workers or being taught self-worth by the Black Panthers she invited to address the class. Her students learned to put together a newsletter in her class and how to make pottery. Some of her students are still singing the international folksongs she taught them, or writing the poetry she loved and encouraged. But mostly, she passed on her love of art, poetry, knowledge and humanity.
She leaves her son Andy, his wife Karen, her son Greg and his wife Rosa, several grandchildren and a great grandchild.