(The Cherry Hill, N.J. Courier-Post) -- When Virginia "Ginny" Hicks first consulted with funeral director Leroy Wooster in 2008, she was firm about announcing her eventual exit.
No viewing. No service.
"And I want to write my own obituary," the Atco, N.J., mother of three sons told Wooster.
She did. According to her middle son, Jon, all Wooster had to do was correct some of the wording for publication in Sunday's Courier-Post.
The 90-year-old read the paper daily, including the morning last week when she slumped in her chair and died during breakfast at a Voorhees, N.J., nursing facility.
Two broken hips had taken their toll, but what really took the wind from Ginny Hicks' sails was the 2001 death of her soul mate, William "Bill" Hicks.
Married 57 years, they had friends all over the country and spent six months every winter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
I, Virginia Mattison Hicks decided to write my own obituary. I lost my wonderful husband Bill Hicks after 57 years together. I am at a lost (sic) ever since.
A union carpenter Ginny met at a local dance, Bill Hicks built the Haddon Township homes where they raised their three sons.
Ginny was a longtime waitress - mostly at Westmont's old Compton's Log Cabin - who kept an immaculate house and constantly told her sons to take their shoes off when they came in the door.
The couple traveled often and lived for a while in Atco, N.J., before Bill died of Alzheimer's, leaving Ginny bereft and lonely.
"They were always together," recalls 58-year-old Jon, who also lives in town.
"I really thought they would die together."
When Bill Hicks went, it also was without the ritualistic fanfare of a funeral.
"We just followed their wishes," Jon's wife, Cathy, says of her in-laws, whom she called Ma and Pa Hicks.
"She (Ginny) would always say, 'You don't have to do anything. It's already done.'
"To me it's closure," Cathy adds. "It's not about us ... It's about their wishes."
But Bill Hicks didn't write his own obituary; Ginny did. So it was no surprise to the family when Wooster read them her self-written notice, including this:
Fortunately, I have 3 wonderful sons, William Mattison Hicks, Jon Thomas Hicks and Charles Hicks. Their wives are more precious to me than words can say, Carol and Cathy. I am so fortunate to have 7 grandchildren, Bill Hicks Rutherford, Jennifer Hicks Rutherford, Sharon Hicks, Holly Anne Hicks, Katie Hicks, Kyle C. Hicks and LCpl (sic) Jon T. Hicks, Jr. who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq.
Jon's Marine son and namesake lost his life in 2007 in an IED explosion. His grandmother was devastated.
The ending has an ending. I thank God for a wonderful life, my sweetheart and the life that we had together. I was the most fortunate person in the World. Thank you God. Thank you my family.
"We shared a lot," Cathy recalls of her mother-in-law. "She was very easy to talk to."
She also was feisty, chatty and - by her own admission - outspoken. While friends around the country dubbed her "Jersey Ginny," she was known to refer to herself as "Big-mouth Ginny," says her son.
There will be no viewing, no funeral services. You should have all visited me with kind attention when I needed you to put a smile on my face and love in my heart.
Jon Hicks says that last sentence was his mother's way of reminding her family a few more visits while she was alive wouldn't have hurt.
"She was outspoken in a joking way," is how he sees it.
Ginny Hicks also kept a daily journal to sharpen her memory. She made her last entry the day her body failed, Sept. 26.
"Another day today," she wrote, just before heading to breakfast and a quick, painless death.
"Let us see what is in store for me."
Her obituary, meanwhile, ended with this:
Virginia Mattison Hicks also known as Jersey Ginny, XOX to e-mail a condolence, please visit www.lpwoosterfuneralhome.com.
Kiss, hug, kiss - in that order. Just the way Ginny Hicks wanted it.