Born in Ottawa on November 26, 1939, to Stanley and Merle Hickey, Jim was surrounded by music and Irish heritage. A long time musician, he was best known with a fiddle in his hand. Over the years he competed in numerous competitions and composed the fiddle tune, "The Willow Tree Hornpipe" which has been recorded by the late Graham Townsend and others. In his earlier years, he traveled with the Art Jamieson Band sharing his joy of music with the Ottawa Valley locals.
As one of the founders of the Pembroke and Area Fiddling and Step Dancing Contest, Jim was passionate about making the Pembroke contest the premier contest in the circuit. Founded in 1975, he could never have dreamed it would become the grand event it has blossomed into today. His reputation and gentlemanly ways became synonymous with the Labour Day weekend event.
Aside from his music life, Jim lived a very full life with his wife Dianna, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He founded James J. Hickey Real Estate and Insurance, where he worked until his passing, and was Reeve of (the then) Rolph, Buchanan Wyle and McKay Township from 1990 - 1994.
He devoted his time to community service in many ways behind the scenes; not for praise, but because that is how he lived his life. He can often be remembered for his words of wisdom and the saying "find something you love and you will never work another day in your life."