Sidney Ricks was born in Sumter, South Carolina, on December 1, 1935. The eldest of six children, Sidney and his family spent his early years in the country. As a young widow, his mother,Edith Ricks, migrated to the north, where they settled in Asbury Park, New Jersey. There, she raised Sidney and his siblings Harriet, Eleanor, Robbie, Chester, and Dorothy.
Sidney’s formative years were spent in Asbury Park, where he attended Bangs Avenue Grammar School and later graduated from Asbury Park High School. Outside of school and occasional odd jobs, he enjoyed the beach, the boardwalk, and socializing on Springwood Avenue. These years were enriched by the companionship of his lifelong friend, Horace Brooks, and his cousin Phillip McCray, with whom he shared many fun afternoons engaging in activities such as marbles, dodgeball, kickball, and basketball.
In his high school yearbook, he expressed his intention to enlist in the Air Force, a commitment he fulfilled by joining in 1955 alongside his friend Horace Brooks. During his service, which took him overseas to Korea, he acquired skills in machine repair and actively participated in the Air Force basketball team.Sidney was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1959, marking the conclusion of his military service.
Following his military service, he relocated to New York City, where he worked for several years at the US Postal Service. It was during his time in New York that he crossed paths with Alyce, a childhood friend of his sister Dorothy. Alyce, too, hailed from Asbury Park, New Jersey. Their first date consisted of a classic movie night accompanied by popcorn. The union between them blossomed, culminating in their marriage in October 1963. Later, in 1971, they moved to the Bronx, where they raised their two children, Sharon and Gregory.
After several years employed by the US Postal Service, he embarked on a new chapter in 1967 by joining the New York City Transit Authority as a bus operator. In pursuit of career advancement, Sidney completed several promotional examinations. His dedication and hard work led to his subsequent promotion to Dispatcher. In recognition of his exceptional contributions, he was honored with a special commendation from the New York Transit Authority in 1986.He continued to move up the ranks and concluded his career as General Superintendent upon his retirement in 1995.
Sidney was incredibly skilled with his hands, adept at fixing anything big or small; he was, to his family, a DIY expert. When he wasn’t busy with his job at NYC Transit or DIY projects, he found joy in watching sports, particularly basketball and football. He took immense pride in supporting his son’sendeavors in the Little Leagues and high school basketball while enthusiastically cheering on his daughter during her track meets.
Beyond his love for sports, Sidney found enjoyment in fishing, often returning home with a cooler full of porgies or tales of the “one that got away.“ His adventurous spirit also led him to explore various destinations, from the serene beaches of the Caribbean to the rugged landscapes of Alaska, the tropical paradise of Hawaii, and the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal. However, his most cherished vacation memory was embarking on a cross-country journey to visit all the National Parks.
After retiring, Sidney and Alyce made their home in Chesapeake, Virginia. Sidney enjoyed tending to his yard and garden, ensuring the lawn was impeccably mowed and the hedges neatly trimmed. His passion extended to venturing into the countryside for farming, often returning with a bushel of fresh vegetables. Sidney took great pride in his vegetable garden, cultivating collard greens, peppers, okra, tomatoes, and cucumbers. He remained handy around the house and garage, frequently making trips to Taylor’s, Home Depot and Lowes for supplies. Additionally, Sidney enjoyed his weekly Bid Whist games with friends, where competition was fierce. He loved it when he was able to yell “Boston.“
Sidney and Alyce joined Lee’s Chapel, AME Church. There, Sidney joined the bible study class, served as a Trustee, and sang with the Male Chorus and the Senior Choir. He was serious about singing, printing out and memorizing all the words so he wouldn’t miss a beat. He even had a solo or two. In 2006, Sidney was honored as Man of the Year for his exceptional contributions to the church community, a recognition he held with great pride.
Sidney was known to have a few favorite sayings. To his children, he often said, “Because I said so.“ If he wanted to make sure he got his point across to someone, he would say, “Are you listening?“ When he wanted to display his tough New Yorker persona, he would say, “I got something for you.“
Sidney’s toughness helped him fight for over a year the cancer that took over his body. Through the pain, radiation, chemotherapy he told cancer – “I got something for you“. He fought until the morning of February 3, 2024, when God whispered to him and granted Sidney eternal rest.
Sidney leaves to cherish his memory a loving and devoted wife of 60 years, Alyce; daughter Dr. Sharon D. Ricks; son, Gregory S. Ricks; grandchild Trevon Ricks; great-grandchild Jeramih Ricks; two sisters-in-law, Jessiemae Jones-Ricks and Wilhelmina Simpson; lifelong friends Horace Brooks (Eartha) and Phillip McCray; a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, church family, and friends.