Howard Everett Biccum
Howard Everett Biccum died peacefully at Winchester District Memorial Hospital. He was 99.
He was the dear husband of Mary Dixon. He was predeceased by first wife Edythe (nee Barkley). He was dear father of Beverly (Robert) Passmore, the late Joyce (late Ernest) Garvie, Mona (Wilbert) Lindsay and the late Shari Biccum.
He will be fondly remembered by grandchildren Mark (Frances) Windsor, Joel Passmore, Chris Lindsay, and Darrin (Sharon) Lindsay. He was predeceased by grandson Paul Windsor. He was also predeceased by parents Everett Biccum and Martha (nee Burleigh), brother Clarence, brother Elgin (late Annie), sister Luella (late Earl) Barnhard, and an infant sister. He will be missed by niece Irma Barnhart and nephew Ralph (Vivian) Biccum, and many friends and acquaintances in the North Dundas community.
He was born near Inkerman on Jan. 10, 1905, the youngest child in the family. Around 1908, the Biccum family left their farm in Winchester Township for a new farm in Mountain Township. It was here that he grew up. Boys often are not fond of school, but Howard was and consequently did well, even looking forward to becoming a doctor. However, this would not be possible. His father’s health forced him to leave school and go to work on the farm.
He developed the reputation of being a very able farmer, but he was also interested in the wider community. He joined the Dundas Holstein Breeders Club becoming a director in 1929, and then president in 1932. He kept an immaculate apple orchard, from which he did not mind the local children taking apples, as long as they were windfalls. However, his father did not share this liberal attitude. He posted the dog on guard duty.
When he was about 21 years old, he met Edythe Barkley. She was a music teacher from Brockville who was visiting her uncle who was a neighbor of Howard’s family. They married at the First Presbyterian Church in Brockville in 1927. From there, they drove to Niagara Falls in their brand new Chrysler for their honeymoon. They lived on the Biccum farm until 1946, Together they had four daughters: Beverly, Joyce, Mona and Shari.
The family moved to a big white house on Main Street in Winchester in 1946. Health had forced Howard to give up farming, so he moved to town and established the Biccum Insurance Company. In the late 1950s, he added real estate to his company’s interests.
He established a subdivision on an 80-acres tract of land in 1957 adjoining the family house in Winchester. For his part in establishing this subdivision, a street running into it was named after him: Howard Street. He decided around 1955 to add a partner to his business. Jack McIntosh entered the company which then became Biccum and McIntosh Ltd. As the years went by, the company prospered, acquiring larger offices in Winchester and then an entire building. New branches were established in Chesterville and Mountain, then in Ottawa.
Winchester United Church became the family’s new church home.There, Howard and Edythe continued the choir work they began many years earlier at Inkerman United Church. Howard also joined the Bel Canto Men’s Choir, whose activities included singing for people in the surrounding communities. As a member of the choir, he was honored in 1948 to receive a music festival award.
The United Church wanted to build a camp for young people in the 1940s and in 1946 Howard helped to select a site and establish a camp on the banks of the Rideau River. Rideau Hill Camp, as it came to be known, started as an 18-acre sheep pasture. Members of the local United Churches worked at clearing the land, building the administration building and dining hall, then the cabins. Over the years, generous people donated money to build additional cabins and a swimming pool. The establishment of, and ongoing involvement with Rideau Hill Camp meant a great deal to Howard. He took justifiable pride in this project that has given so much to so many people.
He become associated with the establishment of Winchester District Memorial Hospital in 1948. From 1957 to 1967 he was chair of the management, property and joint conference committees. In 1967 he became chairman of the bard, a post he held until 1969. He retired from the board in 1975.
Over the 27 years he was involved with the hospital’s administration, a great many projects were undertaken. Wings of the hospital had to be furnished, a children’s play room needed to be equipped, operating room equipment had to be purchased, and the Dillabough Wing was built in 1968. Funding for these and many other projects was often provided, as least in part, by the donations of generous individuals. Howard took great pleasure in contributing to the establishment, growth and success of WDMH.
In the mid 1970s, a nursing home was built in Winchester. Howard and his company helped to establish what is now the Dundas Manor by finding an appropriate lot, and handling the property dealings.This was done without compensations as a contribution to the community.
His many other contributions to his community include membership in the Winchester 100 Club, which he was president of in 1967, Canada’s centennial year. Curling was always a favorite sport, so to promote it in Winchester, Howard donated the Biccum Trophy, which he awarded annually for many years. During the Cold War, he was a member of the Ground Observer Corp. Each night, members would watch for Soviet aircraft. If any suspicious aircraft were seen, they would be reported to the RCAF. Howard never saw any Soviet aircraft around Winchester.
In 1986 Edythe died. Howard did not like living alone, so in 1987, at the age of 82, he married Mary Dixon. They had 17 years together. Until a few years ago, one of their greatest pleasures was their annual winter pilgrimage to Florida, where they had many friends. Both took great interest and enjoyment in the family. They continued to live together in their own home until last November.
Howard Biccum had a long, productive and happy life. He was blessed. He will be missed by his family, many friends, and community. The funeral service took place at Winchester United Church on May 28. Arrangements were entrusted to the Winchester Funeral Home.