Sunday, April 3, 2016

Dorr Sweet Hickey (1898-1942)

Portrait from the Phillips Exeter Academy Yearbook, 1918.

   The city of Oneonta in Otsego County, New York has elected two oddly named mayors in its century-plus history, Bertus Clark Lauren (Mayor from 1926-1931) and today's "honoree"... Dorr Sweet Hickey! Possessing a name that's guaranteed to give you a chuckle, Mr. Hickey was a Yale University graduate and a semi-pro baseball player prior to his involvement in Oneonta political life. A three-term alderman in that city, Hickey was elected as Mayor of Oneonta by the city's common council following the death of Mayor Daniel Franklin. In an unusual turn of events, Hickey himself died just three days following his election!!
   The son of druggist Thomas M. Hickey and the former May Sweet, Dorr Sweet Hickey was born in Milford, New York on September 21, 1898. Hickey received his first and middle names in honor of his maternal uncle, Dorr R. Sweet (died 1918), a Milford resident and farmer. Dorr Sweet Hickey would graduate from the Milford High School and also attended the Phillips Exeter Academy. Hickey would enter into the naval reserves during WWI and at war's conclusion was "stationed in officer's training school at Pelham Bay." 
    In the early 1920s Dorr Hickey entered Yale University and during his time here was a member of the Delta Epsilon Fraternity. Hickey would be a standout athlete during his Yale years, being a member of that school's baseball and basketball teams. Following his graduation from Yale Hickey would continue involvement with sports, being affiliated with the Newark Bears, then the farm team of the New York Yankees. Hickey's 1942 obituary also relates that his time in baseball made him "invaluable" when it came to organizing the Oneonta Professional club in the Canadian-American League.
    Prior to his removal to Oneonta in 1926, Hickey had been employed by the R.T. French Company of Rochester (famed for their production of mustard and other condiments), as well as the American Art Works of New York City. Following his relocation to Oneonta Hickey joined his father Thomas at the Empire State Oil Company, a "wholesale and retail petroleum dealer". Dorr S. Hickey served as vice president and manager of that company from 1926 until his death and on February 25, 1928 married in Jamestown, North Dakota to Lois Durfee Eddy (1902-1991). The couple would later have two children, Thomas Eddy (born 1929) and Gracia Ann (1931-1981).
   In addition to his time with the Empire State Oil Company, Hickey was active in the public life of Oneonta and Otsego County, being a member of the Oneonta Chamber of Commerce and the Masonic order. He served as Boy Scout commissioner for the counties of Otsego, Delaware Schoharie from 1931-1932 and from 1931-37 chaired the Board of Trustees of the Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta.
   Dorr Sweet Hickey entered the political life of Oneonta in 1937 when he was elected to that city's Common Council. He would serve three terms here and in late 1942 assumed the responsibilities of acting mayor of Oneonta due to the illness of incumbent Mayor Daniel Franklin, who had served as mayor since 1938. Franklin died in office on October 12, 1942, and on October 28th Dorr Hickey was appointed as Oneonta's new mayor by a vote of the common council. Hickey's time as mayor proved to be extremely brief, as he died three days following his appointment!! Just 44 years of age at the time of his death, Hickey had been ill with Bright's disease for a year prior to his death and was survived by his wife, children and both his parents.
   Remarked as being "possessed of a winning personality and high character" by his contemporaries, Hickey was later interred at the Milford Cemetery in Milford, New York.

 From the Syracuse New York Journal, 1942.

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