Clarksdale Public Utilities lost its chairman of the board and the community lost a careful and quiet leader Tuesday afternoon.
Clarksdale businessman James Hicks, who was chairman of the CPU Board of Trustee, died March 9 after he was found unresponsive in his home and rushed to Delta Health Northwest Regional Hospital. Hicks had been sick with an extended illness, but had told very few about his health.
Hicks was appointed to the CPU board by former Mayor Bill Luckett and decidedly won re-election to the post in an unusual election called to fill the seat by Mayor Chuck Espy in November.
CPU General Manager Curtis Boschert said Hicks took over as CPU board chairman at the beginning of his second meeting with Clarksdale’s power company board in 2018.
“I’ve known James Hicks for over 25 years and of course, I knew his father,” said Boschert. “James was always first and foremost a good man and a good friend and a very good commissioner and a very good citizen of Clarksdale who had the best interest of Clarksdale and CPU on his mind.”
Hicks’ father was also named James Hicks.
“I knew him through my connections with the city and his previous tenures as a CPU commissioner,” Boschert said. “I would regularly see him in Kroger in the afternoons and we would both run into each other.”
Boschert served as the Clarksdale city attorney before becoming CPU general manager. He estimated Hicks served 15 years on the CPU board, but at different times.
“I would say first and foremost he was fair in dealing with the management and employees and the customers,” Boschert said. “I think he made a point to listen. He was a good listener. He would always listen before he made decisions and drew conclusions.”
“Obviously, he worked hard at the Laundromat,” Boschert added.” He was proud of being a hard worker and he believed in working hard.”
Ward 1 Alderman Bo Plunk said he was at the hospital when Hicks passed.
“I served with James in the Mississippi National Guard and he was a good man and a good soldier,” said Plunk. “He worked in supply and did his job well.”
Plunk said everyone knows the Hicks family and he said James always tried to help people.
“James didn’t seen color and he would do anything for you,” said Plunk. “This community is going to miss him. He and his family did a lot of things for Clarksdale and people in Clarksdale that people will never know about.”
Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced on the Clarksdale Press Register website when they are made available.