Dow Hicks, founder of The Roost Nightclub in Edmonton, passed away this past January 19th.
A memorial was held on Friday, January 28th at the Christ Church on 102nd Avenue. In honor of Dow Hicks, three gay bars in Edmonton - Woody’s, Buddy’s and the Junction - were open following the memorial with Happy Hour prices until 8pm.
Dow will leave a lasting mark on the Edmonton GLBT community. Linda Veraart, a friend of Dow, talked to GayCalgary & Edmonton Magazine.
"Dow will be remembered for being a truly genuine person. He opened the doors at the Roost and made people feel at home, and [made the bar] a place that was safe for them to be no matter who they were. Dow would do anything he could for people and he always had a smile and a hand shake for everyone. Dow leaves behind a sister, his dog Jake and many, many friends."
Dow founded The Roost Night Club in 1968. It was a crucial part of Edmonton’s GLBT scene, and made an impact not only on the community, but local organizations as well. He partnered with Grant Mac Ewan’s drama program, allowing student-run plays to be staged at The Roost’s theatre upstairs. He also made generous donations to numerous causes such as multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, heart and stroke research, and AIDS research.
"...If you needed anything he would be there to help you, or he would let you know of someone that could help. There weren’t many instances where he would not know an answer to a question being asked, but if by chance he didn’t know, he would find the answer somehow or even a few times he would make up an answer just to please us. He had a great sense of humour and if he could trick you into believing something that wasn’t really true, he would be the first one to say gotcha and laugh out loud."
"I think anyone that knew Dow would say that he was a great boss, a great friend and just a genuine person. Dow is going to be truly missed by myself and everyone that knew him. If I could do anything to bring him back, I would. Dow, we are going to miss you more than words can say."
Dow Hick’s Memorial Facebook page is inundated with messages of remembrance and hope. Ava Karvonen writes, "Dow leaves a great legacy behind with his kindness and generosity and for creating an environment for people to celebrate and embrace their differences. I spent many great evenings at the Roost. Thank you, Dow. We miss you."
Similarly, Jeff Thiessen writes, "Thanks to a truly great man for all help and advice you gave me as a young, scared farm boy new to the city. And [thanks for] all the many good memories from the Roost. RIP."
"When I first moved here almost ten years ago the first place I found was The Roost ... and those people accepted me with no objections, and with that I found the strength to find out who I really am and to do what was right for me," adds Sean Joseph Thomas. "And there is a very large hole in the hearts of many who have discovered themselves through The Roost Family. Dow will be sadly missed by all."
It is obvious from the written words and heartfelt memories that Dow Hicks was a trailblazer in the Edmonton GLBT community, as well as a kind man in general. He gave the gift of acceptance to all who attended The Roost, and he made long lasting friendships as well. May he rest in peace.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Dow can be made to the Alberta Lung Association, Box 4500 Street South, Edmonton, AB T6E 6K2, or to the University Hospital Foundation (Pulmonary Unit-5E3), 8440 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2B7.