July 9, 2019 6:39 pm
Updated: July 10, 2019 7:34 am

Saskatoon’s ‘Sailor Dan’ dead at 65

"Sailor Dan" died in St. Paul's Hospital early Tuesday morning at the age of 65.

Brice Perkins / Supplied

A cantankerous but well-known figure in Saskatoon has died.

Sailor Dan” died in St. Paul’s Hospital early Tuesday morning at the age of 65.

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For years, the man whose real name was Daniel James Hicks, was a fixture in Saskatoon’s downtown.

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He was sometimes aggressive in panhandling, and his behaviour sometimes got him into trouble with law enforcement. But he was also well-known for making drawings of ships and selling them – hence the nickname “Sailor Dan” that everyone knew him by.

Saskatoon Police Service Const. Derek Chesney got to know the artist well over the years.

“Dan was definitely a character,” Chesney said. “I used to tease him that he was kind of a folk hero downtown. Dan was pretty modest, pretty humble. He just kind of brushed it off.”

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He added Hicks didn’t always get along with police, but he also has some very good memories of their interactions.

“I was working east side years ago and I was getting our meals at McDonald’s, and Dan was in there drawing and I walked in and went and talked to him, and when I went to leave I went to say goodbye and he was gone,” Chesney said.

“And when I walked around the corner he was holding the door open for me. He ran to the police car, opened the back door, gave me a full salute and he and I have kind of been friends ever since.”

Hicks was in custody at the time of his death. In an email, Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice spokesperson Drew Wilby said neither foul play nor an overdose is suspected in his death.

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