Marcella Teresa Hickey, age 75, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Easter Sunday, April 21.
Marcella was born and raised in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. She was educated by Josephite nuns at Holy Cross Elementary School and St Joseph's High School graduating in 1961. Growing up in a working class neighborhood of Brooklyn, she learned the value and honor of work and education. Marcella went on to receive a diploma from the School of Nursing at Kings County Hospital Center in 1963 fulfilling her dream of becoming a nurse. In 1975, she received a Bachelor of Science degree from Brooklyn College. She did her clinical studies for Nurse Midwifery at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 1976 and became a certified Nurse Midwife from the American College of Nurse-Midwives in the same year. She moved to Charleston, S.C. to practice as a nurse midwife at the College of Nursing of the Medical University of South Carolina. In 1986 she received her Master of Science in Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin and was inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Marcella served as an Assistant Professor for many years at the College of Nursing in the Nurse Midwife Program at the Medical University of South Carolina and as the Program Director before retiring in 2014 with the title of Professor Emerita. Her many honors include being elected as a Fellow in the American College of Nurse Midwives and in 2003 she was given the ACMN's Region III Award for Excellence in Practice.
Marcella delivered hundreds of babies and taught many students. She touched the lives of so many as a published author, a clinician and educator in the area of nurse midwifery.
Marcella loved her friends, her career and her life in her Charleston. She was the perfect host for anyone who came to visit the city and would give her guests the “local” tour of the town. She joyfully volunteered for many years at Charleston's Spoleto Festival enjoying the evenings filled with music and theater. Marcella was a long time parishioner at Sacred Heart in Charleston and after moving north, she worshiped at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Bay Head, New Jersey. Marcella loved to garden and she loved the view from her home in Charleston which looked out onto the river. She considered herself a southern lady, even though she was once told by someone, while she was driving with NY license plates,
"Hey, Yankee! Go Home!"
After beating breast cancer in 2006, Marcella became involved with Dragon Boat Charleston for breast cancer survivors. She loved the Dragon Boat Community and all the inspiring people she met as well as the physical challenges that came with paddling with a team on a 48 foot vessel. In 2010, Marcella and her friends even posed nude for a Dragon Boat calendar that helped raise funds for the group. She was stylish and always dressed up for every occasion with her signature hats, jewelry and purple accents.
She resided in Charleston until 2017 when she moved to New Jersey to be closer to family.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Denis and Marcella Hickey, brothers-in-law Gregory Sinis and Louis Rinaldi and her beloved rescue dogs, Tara Brown, Beebee, Cassie, Mucky and her sweet Pitt Bull, Pucky.
Marcella is survived by her loving sisters, Eileen Rinaldi and Mary Sinis; her nieces Christina DeVoll and husband David, Louisa Sorino and husband Fred, Ellen Badger and husband Jeff, her great-neices and nephews, Marie, Theodore, Peyton, Jake and Zachary as well as her sweet dog Abigail, whom Marcella rescued from a life as a breeding mamma dog.
A Mass will be said for Marcella at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 888 King Street, Charleston, SC on Saturday, May 18th at 4:30 pm.
We will be wearing Marcella's favorite color, purple, in her honor.
In lieu of flowers, please consider rescuing a dog in Marcella's name, donating to your favorite animal rescue or making a donation to Dragon Boat Charleston.