Obit: Bill Hickman, Friend of NPF

William D. Hickman, longtime Washington journalist and National Press Foundation board member, has died.

“A wonderful person, dedicated board member and good friend to NPF,” said NPF president emeritus Bob Meyers.

Hickman also had strong ties to the National Press Club, as you’ll see in the obituary that follows:

William D. (Bill) Hickman (age 77), a former journalist who directed the $90 million redevelopment of the National Press Building in downtown Washington, died Nov. 10 at Reston Hospital of complications from lung cancer.

Hickman was president and CEO of the National Press Building Corporation from 1981 to 1991. During that time, the building was totally gutted and rebuilt. After leaving the Press Building position in 1991, he worked for several trade associations and a public relations firm before forming Bill Hickman Associates, a communications firm.

Hickman was born in Nederland, Texas, on July 24, 1939, to Mary Lou Franke and William D. Hickman, Sr. He began his news industry career at age 13 as a bicycle carrier for the Beaumont Enterprise and Journal. His first reporting job was for The Enterprise covering the towns of Nederland, Port Neches, and Groves while attending Lamar University of Beaumont.

Next he worked for The Houston Post as a city desk reporter and feature writer before realizing his dream: a reporting job in the nation’s capital. After stints at Space Business Daily and Fairchild Publications he joined the Washington bureau for McGraw-Hill Publications, beginning a 15-year career with Business Week, Engineering News-Record (ENR), and other publications where he covered construction, transportation, communications, and energy issues.

In the 1960s and 70s he was chairman of several National Press Club committees and was a member of the Club’s board of governors from 1968-1971. In recent years he was a volunteer in the National Press Club Archives and directed its oral history project. He served on the board of the National Press Foundation for 14 years.

Hickman was a home cooking enthusiast who developed a distinctive chili con carne recipe that won numerous cook offs, including the National Press Club Super Bowl of Chili. He is the author and co-author of books on space technology, business management, and industrial history.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Barbara LeDane Hickman of Reston; two sons, Todd William Hickman and his wife Candace of Dagsboro, DE, Brent Russell Hickman and his wife Anne Bauers of Minneapolis, MN; and five treasured grandchildren, Ethan Todd and William James Hickman of Dagsboro, DE, and Nathan Russell, Andrew Bauers, and Adeline Grace Hickman of Minneapolis, MN.

Other survivors include a sister, Kathryn E. Peek and her husband Howard of Houston, TX, and brothers Arthur L. Hickman and his wife Pamela Colleen of Beaumont, TX, and Randal L. Hickman and his wife Paula of Nederland, TX, as well as several nieces and a nephew.

Relatives and friends are invited to Mr. Hickman’s Life Celebration at Money and King Funeral Home, 171 W. Maple Ave., Vienna, VA Monday Nov. 14, at 11 am. Interment Fairfax Memorial Park. A Memorial Service will be held at the National Press Club at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Press Foundation Online condolences and fond memories of Mr. Hickman may be offered to the family at

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