Darrell Elmer Hicks, age 92, passed away peacefully in Brainerd, MN on June 28, 2023. He was born in Winnebago, MN on October 28, 1930. He was the son of Charles and Florence (Tyrrell) Hicks.
The 4th son of 12 siblings growing up during the Depression, he left home after the 8th grade to seek his fortune. He headed cross country, working any job he could. Darrell spent a lot of time working in the oil industry, picking potatoes, road construction, and many others before returning home to join the Army. He fought in the Korean War conflict and was seriously wounded. He was transported to a MASH unit, patched together, and sent to Tokyo and Tripler Army Hospital in Hawaii for recovery. He returned to the West Coast, where he was discharged and left to find his way home. After returning home, he married the love of his life, Darlene Dietz, from Annandale, MN.
They purchased a small resort on Lake Sylvia, west of Annandale. Darlene (mom) managed the resort, and Darrell (dad) took a road construction job with Barton Const. in Osseo, MN. They had two sons while living there, Charles and Greg. Being a long commute for Dad, they soon purchased a home in Buffalo, MN as Mom had her hands full with the two boys. A little girl (Brenda) came along shortly after moving, making it Three. Tired of commuting and someone else telling him what to do, he started his own paving company in Buffalo with a couple of trucks and some paving equipment. He and partner John Danielson began to grow the company Buffalo Bituminous. Darla, the last child of the family, completed the foursome. John Danielson sold out to Duininck Bros., and the Company continued growing. Darrell was involved and owned several Buffalo businesses: Ben Franklin, The Buffalo Hotel, Hardee’s restaurant, Buffalo Chrysler/Plymouth, and Hals’ Club supper club, all as Buffalo Bituminous grew. Duininck’s eventually sold out their interest to Chuck Hicks, Greg Hicks, Paul Zumbusch, George McAlpine, Brad Arntson and Leon Kelzenberg. Buffalo Bituminous was recognized with only a small group of pavers operating statewide in Minnesota. The company eventually sold out to MDU Resources Inc., and Darrell retired. He and Darlene moved to Crosslake, MN, to a cabin on Lake O’Brien.
Darrell was a great businessman and did things his way. He had a knack for making businesses successful and enjoyed it immensely. He was very generous to those who helped him along the way. He was a devoted Family man, and his whole family contributed to many of his adventures and businesses. In addition, Darrell was a two-time commander of the Buffalo American Legion and was active in the local Buffalo post for many years.
Darrell and Darlene were avid travelers having many adventures. They drove a small travel trailer to Acapulco several times, traveled all through Mexico, and wintered in Mazatlan at the Hotel De Cima and El Cid Marina for numerous years. His passion for fishing took him to the Florida Keys, having a vacation home in Marathon, and eventually to Everglades City and Port of the Islands in Naples, Florida, where he was a guide caliber Ten Thousand Islands fisherman. He often fished six days a week (Mom wouldn’t let him fish on Sunday). He had to attend church at the Everglades Community Church, where they both were very active. He also enjoyed river fishing in Minnesota on the Mississippi, somehow increasing the smallmouth bass population in Lake O’Brien.
Survived by his children: Chuck (Denise) Hicks, Greg (Sue) Hicks, and Darla Hicks Larson (Jim Benson); Grandchildren: Eric Hicks and Rachel Hicks, Andrew and Anthony Hicks, Nicholas Zumbusch and Breia Gaskil, Annukka Neumann and Mathew Larson; Step-grandchildren: Eric Weller, Danielle Branson and Kristen Weller, Jolene Swenson, Jeri-Sue Lommen and Julie Bolton; Great-grandchildren: Wyatt and Waylon Hicks, Alani Hicks, Sammy and Sophia Neumann, Casper and Leon Gaskil, Hadley, Briar and Paul II Zumbusch and Lennon and Lena Larson; Step-great grandchildren: Blake and Olivia Weller, Madeleine and Alexander Branson, Lilian , Pierce, Natalie and Penelope Swenson, Harrison and Holland Lommen; Sisters and Brothers; June Clausen, Kerry Hicks, Irvin Hicks, Janet Miller.
Preceded in death by his Wife, Darlene Hicks; Daughter, Brenda Hicks; his parents Charles and Florence Hicks (Harold Nelson); and siblings, Neva Schermerhorn, Cecil Hicks, Lloyd Hicks, Jerry Hicks, Joan Jacobson, Larry Hicks, and Gordon Hicks.
Memorials will be sent to Disabled American Veterans in Darrell’s memory.
Memorial Service will be held Monday, July 10, 2023 at 11:00 AM with visitation one hour prior at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Buffalo, MN. Inurnment to follow at Lakeview Cemetery in Buffalo. A luncheon will be served at Huikko’s – Bison Creek Event Center in Buffalo following the services and inurnment.
Arrangements have been entrusted to The Peterson Chapel of Buffalo. Online condolences for the family may be directed to www.thepetersonchapel.com