To my friend

Michael James Hickok
Sept. 21, 1979—Dec. 10, 2011

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Re: To my friend

Post by AndyWS » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:40 pm

Caltrain927 wrote:Sorry I've been meaning to post in this section for a while. I was shocked to get the notification of a PM in my email from Mike's dad about the news. I almost wanted to cry. Me & Mike were very close until about 2009, when I started to shy away from crossing signals & started to get more into trains. I had always been into trains, but when I stumbled across the site in about 2005, it amplified my interest more into crossing signals & I started my YouTube channel dedicated to videos of crossing signals. Its now one of the most popular railfan channels on YouTube. He also helped me in knowledge of computers & helped me pick out the computer I currently have now. I owe Mike a lot & I thank him for many of the things I have & for getting to know him. I will miss him.... RIP
I've also been putting off posting here, since I've kind of lapsed into lurker status after contributing heavily to the site from late 2006-2007 and then off and on throughout 2008 and 9. I hadn't been talking to Mike much for awhile.

It's really because of Mike that I'm a railfan, too. When I came across his site in late 2006 and started shooting crossings, it was only a matter of time before I moved into trains as well. Until then it had never really occured to me to go out and seek trains for photography/videography, even though I'd always liked them.

When I first met Mike I was surprised to learn he had only just turned 27 (I was 20) since it seemed to me a lot of people that were into trains were older folks (the flock of teenage YouTube foamers hadn't really taken off at that point). If you'd told me then that he'd be dead in just over five years, I wouldn't have believed it. Just goes to show you can never take anything for granted.
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Re: To my friend

Post by luke » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:09 pm

After being away for so long, I find this.

This site really brought me on not just to trains, but to railroads in general. I liked Mike, and it is a shame he's gone...
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Re: To my friend

Post by owensri » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:07 am

My condolences to Mike's family.

It was 2007, and I randomly typed in "railroad crossing signal" into a Google image search. It brought me to Mikes site, and I was astounded by the number of signal pictures and information I found. When I was younger, I was into signals, but it for some reason, dwindled down and I lost interest. It wasn't until then when I did the search that it was, if you want to say, a "blast from the past". I went out and bought a digital camera and started to take pictures of signals and sent them in to Mike to be posted to the site. This really was the starting point of my whole career, and I thank Mike for the "jump start" if you will to spark my interest and eventually land me a job in the signal industry. If it wasn't for me finding this site on that day, who knows where I would be right now.

I just wish I had visited the site more in the last few months, and was able to thank him for all that he has done, and for essentially starting my career. He will be deeply missed, and I can't say thank you enough for all that he has done, even though he didn't know it.

RIP Mike!

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Re: To my friend

Post by WRRS1275 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:40 am

I'm sort of new here and sort of not.
I stumbled onto this site in 2004, when I was on a kick of studying Wig Wag signals. My initial introduction to this site was through Dan's Wig Wag site, which had a link to Mike's page. I've loved trains my whole life, and signals were always kind of an interest. After a while of studying this site, the interest grew into a full blown obsession. So much so that I kind of moved away from general railroad stuff for a while. I was so obsessed, in fact, that I started studying manufacturers, models and the buying and utilization habits of railroads. Mike and I jointly started researching this, and eventually this became the basis for the 102 page, although other people like rrxingrick helped expand that section more than I.
I began photographing signals locally here in Michigan and submitting them. As a result, I am responsible for most of the material in this section of the site
You can imagine how elated I was when Mike moved to Michigan in 2004 and 2005. Eventually, the two of us met up for some railfanning between Midland, where he was, and Lansing, where I lived. We made two trips together, capitalizing on our shared knowledge of Michigan crossings and my knowledge of local operations to enjoy some lucrative railfanning and signal fanning.
Unfortunately, I began to grow more into general railroad photography and gradually fell away from photographing signals. I kept in some contact with Mike afterwards, and accumulated a backlog of signal pictures to send to him, but only a few ever made it. The last time I talked to him was in sending some pictures of a pair of backlogged crossings and providing some text updates. That was in November, 2007...four years ago now.
As life has pulled me through other things, I've still maintained an interest in signals and today, even though I rarely go out of my way to photograph them, I can't help but observe their characteristics. Much of the knowledge I learned from this site has also been retained.
I've tried to pop into this site and check it out now and again. It's been both exciting and prideful for me to see how much it's grown in the time I've "retired". Considering many railfans thought I was weird for liking signals so much, it's been very heartening for me to see so much enthusiasm as to help Mike run and update the site. It's grown to be an impressive and useful information and reference source about signals.
I have checked this forum occasionally and I would often read some of the updates in it. However, I wasn't paying close enough attention to be aware of what was going on...until I clicked onto the site this morning.
When I saw the "In Memory of..." on the topic of the page, I literally felt a shock run through me. I searched the site to find out what happened, before I finally read of his health problems. This is so sad. I never would have expected this to happen. :( Mike definitely didn't deserve this or any of the other crap that he's had to deal with over his life. I feel so sorry now that I didn't attempt to actually maintain contact with him. I even saw him on skype in the last year but it never occurred to me to chat with him for some reason. :(
I've struggled to make and maintain friends over the course of my life. At the time that we talked a lot, Mike was one of the better friends I had ever had. He was stubborn in many regards and I always found his irrational fear of crime and tendancy to avoid big cities out of that fear insanely annoying, but I was able to mostly overlook it. I always thought and hoped that he would eventually score a signal maintainer's job with BNSF or some other railroad and be able to work on the apparatus he was so fascinated with. I'm sure he would have been one of the best signal maintainers out there. Mike was a great guy, one of the best friends I've had over the course of my life and I feel extremely privileged to have met and railfanned with him in person. I only wish now that I had kept in contact with him and that I'd realized what had happened. :(
Thank you, Mike, for everything you've done, for hosting this site and for being a good friend to me. I will never forget you, good sir. None of us will.
Rest In Peace, my friend.

Gregg Richard Pullano
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Re: To my friend

Post by Erie Mainline » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:45 pm

For my first post I just wanted to add my condolences here. I recently acquired my first crossing signal light and wanted to learn more. A google search brought me here. I then read Mikes posts from the beginning of his illnesss to the end. I cried as I read his last posts. This site is a wonderful legecy to someone who turned his passion into a place where other like minded people can come to share and learn. I never knew Mike, but I learned a lot because of him. Thank you Mike, and I know that you are surrounded by all who love you, and all that you love!
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Re: To my friend

Post by BBT609 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:42 pm

I know this post is late, but I really was shocked that I found out he passed. Its such eerie feeling coming to this site know that the creator passed away. I hope that someone could keep this good site going. I love it.

Brylon Terry
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Re: To my friend

Post by TheSignalMan2000 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:31 pm

I know I have been around this site since like 2008 just looking at different signals and all that and I can tell you, Mike sure did put a whole lot onto this site and it is really sad that he has passed :Sad:

We all know that Mike happens to be one of the greatest rail faners of all times, not just in the United States, but the whole world, Mike will be missed, even about 1 year after your passing, we all still respect you Mikey :Smile:
The crossing photographer of Louisiana, Mississippi, & East Texas

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Re: To my friend

Post by mrlsan1 » Tue May 28, 2013 6:10 am

:Cry1: I 'm new to this site, but even though I have never met mike before I still feel for him. I wish his family all the best and ... I'm lost for words I ... Am so sorry. :Cry1: :Cry1: :Awww:
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