April 22, 2018
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ORONO – Barbara Ekemsky Hikel, died Oct. 6, 2005, at home, attended by her family. She was 81. The cause was cancer. She was born Sept. 25, 1924, in Augusta, to Daniel and Mary Ekemsky, who were immigrants from Ukraine and Poland. She graduated from Cony High School in Augusta, in 1942 and from Gates Business School, also in Augusta. She worked for the IRS in Augusta during World War II and afterward. On Sept. 22, 1951, she married Rudolph Hikel, of Waterville. In 1953, they moved to Skowhegan, where they lived for 22 years. Ms. Hikel was active in many community activities, including the School Board, SIECUS and the Girl Scouts, while raising six children. In 1976, after moving to Orono, Ms. Hikel worked in conferences management at the Holiday Inn in Bangor and at the Samoset Resort, in Rockport. In 1981, she went to work for the University of Maine, where she served in diverse positions, notably as financial manager of Research and Graduate Studies, until her retirement in 2000. The University community was dear to her heart; she served on many committees, notably the President’s Athletic Advisory Board, the President’s Council of Retired Employees and the Combined Charitable Appeals for University Employees, where she led a record-breaking drive for contributions. She was known on campus for “telling it like it is,” and for promoting the status of women on campus throughout her long affiliation there. Ms. Hikel is survived by her husband, Rudy and by their children and their partners, Katharine Hikel and Walter Breck, of Hinesburg, Vt., Joy Hikel, of Skowhegan, Barbara and James McCree, of Glenburn, Elizabeth Jewell and Marilyn McClain, of Carrboro, N.C., Jake Hikel of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico and Dan Hikel and Deana Schrindl of Truckee, Calif. She also leaves seven beloved grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two aunts, Mrs. Barbara Elliott of Scarborough and Mrs. Mollie Sutherland, of California; an uncle, James Smith, of Smithfield; a beloved cousin, Dr. Paul Orloff and his wife, Germaine, of Belgrade; and several cousins, nieces and nephews. The family is grateful to CancerCare of Maine, Bangor Area Visiting Nurses and Hospice of Eastern Maine for all of their professional care and compassion in helping to provide a supportive home environment for Ms. Hikel’s final illness. Visitors are welcome to call at the family home, 14 Chapel Rd., Orono, during the daytime, from Sunday, Oct. 11 throughout the week. A reception will be held at the Buchanan Alumni House, 160 College Avenue, Orono, 3-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14. Contributions in Ms. Hikel’s memory may be made to the University of Maine Alumni Association, or to the School of Performing Arts, care of the Alumni Association, P.O. Box 550, Orono ME 04473.

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