When President Kennedy was assassinated less than two years later, Mr. Hicks found and then helped plant the black locust trees that Mellon had chosen for the Arlington National Cemetery grave.
Everett Coburn Hicks Sr. was born June 19, 1918, in Masonville, N.Y., the youngest of nine children and the son of British immigrants. As a child, he moved to Jefferson, Md., where his father, a Congregationalist minister, had found a job on a farm.
At age 13, Mr. Hicks lost his father in an accident during a barn-raising. He quit school and got a job on the same farm to help support his family.
One day a Davey crew came to the property for some tree work. Captivated by the men’s ascent into the branches, Mr. Hicks promised himself that he would go to work for the company when he turned 18. And he did.
The job proved as good as he had hoped. He didn’t mind the long hours or the hard labor. “That suits me,” he told the Saturday Evening Post, “as long as I can get up and down a tree.”
His early assignments took him to rich estates on the East Coast. In New Jersey he met Mary Ford, whom he married before serving in the Army during World War II. She died in 2000 after 59 years of marriage.
Survivors include his second wife, Rosalie Arcand Hicks of Tampa; three children from his first marriage, Barbara Orlando of Fredericksburg, Everett “Butch” Hicks Jr. of Fredericksburg and David Hicks of Bethesda; four grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
The tree that Mr. Hicks loved most, his son said, was a maple variety called October Glory. He planted one at his wife Mary’s grave at a Middleburg cemetery.
“It’s a beautiful tree,” said Tyler Gore, the undertaker who buried Mr. Hicks in the same spot several weeks ago. The maple is about 25 feet tall, impossible not to notice.