John Ward Jickling (1921-2012) grew up in Birmingham, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan College of Architecture in 1948. Jickling enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942 and was called up for service in 1943. He served at bases in Mississippi and Texas where he instructed gunnery students and acted as the architectural assistant to the Post Engineer at Harlingen Army Airfield.
Jickling married Barbara Wright Fairman (who also graduated from the University of Michigan College of Architecture) in 1947 and they moved to Birmingham, MI where Jickling worked for Swanson Associates. John left Swanson and he and Barbara founded their own architectural firm, Jickling, Lyman & Powell Associates of Troy, Michigan in 1962. Jickling was a prolific architect and designed several buildings for the University of Michigan, including the Gerald Ford Presidential Library, the Bentley Historical Library, and the Medical Research Building. In 1979 he was made a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. In 1983 he was awarded the Gold Medal by its Detroit Chapter and in 1988 he was given a Gold medal by the Michigan Society of Architects. He served as the Regional Director of the American Institute of Architects, the President of the Michigan Society of Architects, and the President of the Detroit Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Jickling retired from active practice in 1988 but continued to practice as a consultant until the early 2000s.
Besides his involvement with the architecture community, Jickling was a founding member of the Oakland Land Conservancy and served as a board member of the Oakland County parks Foundation from 1989-1992. He also served on the Birmingham Planning Board, the Historic District Design Review Committee, and the Historic District Study Committee.
Jickling's father and father-in-law were active members of their community as well. Clare Mason Jickling (1894-1968) attended Kalamazoo College and the University of Michigan. During World War I he served in the Army Air Corps. He and his wife, Norma Carland, lived in the Detroit area and in 1931 Clare established his own advertising firm, Wolf-Jickling-Dow.
James Fairman (1896-1967) grew up in Big Rapids, MI. In 1918 he graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering. He was a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army at Camp Meade, Maryland. Between 1919 and 1925 Fairman taught in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. In 1921 he earned his Masters of Science in Engineering from the University of Michigan. Fairman worked for 37 years at the Consolidated Edison Company of New York until he retired in 1963. During his time there, he earned the nickname "Mr. Atom" for his work on an atomic powered generating plant on the Hudson River. In 1959 the American Society of Electrical Engineers awarded Fairman the Edison Gold Medal for his "outstanding performance in improving the design of large electric power systems; for far-sighted leadership in atomic power development; and for unremitting efforts to improve the engineering profession."