Wisconsin FFA Convention gives heartfelt tribute to Jeff Hicken

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer
The family of the late Jeff Hicken from left, his son, Drew, parents Margaret and Patrick Hicken, wife Sheri and son, Cole, are on hand for Jeff's induction into the Wisconsin FFA Foundation Blue & Gold Society.

FFA advisor Jeff Hicken, who tragically passed away June 18 at the age of 47, was honored at the 2021 Wisconsin FFA Convention this week with a touching tribute video.

More than $15,000 was donated to the Jeff Hicken Memorial Endowment fund, and his family members were inducted into the Wisconsin FFA Foundation Blue & Gold Society. Hicken's family made an appearance on stage to receive the induction award.

A video revealed dozens of messages from those touched by Jeff Hicken in their personal lives, all of whom revealed his positivity, determination and drive to help Wisconsin youth find their purpose in FFA.

"Jeffrey Hicken was my colleague, and he was my friend. He showed me how to be a leader, and he gave me his support," one person said. "And because of this belief in me, he gave me the confidence and the courage that I needed to help and to serve others."

"Mr. Hicken was a compassionate mentor and friend who supported me and so many others through challenging times, and celebrated with us through exciting times," another added. "I'm blessed to have had him in my life."

"Jeff Hicken was the kind of individual who cared about each and every one of us. Jeff not only touched your heart, but he touched your soul," one friend shared. "He made us all want to be the best version (of ourselves) that we could possibly be. Jeff gave us hope, joy and faith."

The Wisconsin 2021 FFA Convention paid tribute to deceased advisor Jeff Hicken, who passed away June 18.

Retiring FFA state president Joe Schlies shared his own memories of Hicken, saying if he was supposed to meet with you at 8 am, he'd be there at 7:45 waiting on you. Schlies also said Hicken took pride in his students and mentees, to whom he offered a great deal of support, and added that his loss creates a big hole in the lives of FFA members.

"Mr. Hicken was more than a state FFA advisor to us. He was the calm at every FFA event. He was the man who was always willing to listen. A man who always said the right joke at the right time," Schlies said. "There are no words to express our deepest sympathy to the Hicken family."