James M. Higgins
James M. Higgins, 81, Stevens Point, died Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, at the Marshfield Medical Center.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, at the Shuda Funeral Home, 3200 Stanley St., Stevens Point, and again from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at St. Stanislaus/Holy Spirit Parish with funeral services at 2 p.m. Rev. Tom Lindner will officiate. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Church in Custer, with full Military Honors.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to Pacelli Excellence in Education Fund, Wounded Warriors and Stevens Point Area Retired Teachers Association.
Online condolences may be offered at www.shudafuneral.com.
He was born June 10, 1936, in Richfield, son of John W. Higgins and Isabella M. (Laubenheimer) Higgins.
He was married June 2, 1962, in Necedah to Joanne E Van Hoof.
He was a graduate of P.J. Jacobs High School, Class of 1954, and was a State Champion hurdler. He received his bachelor’s degree from Ripon College, Class of 1958. He received his master’s degree from Colorado State University in 1962.
He was a teacher and coach at Hancock Grade School, Plainfield Tri-County High School, Reedsville High School and P.J. Jacobs High School from 1959 to 1966, coaching football, basketball and track.
He was a driver’s education teacher for the Stevens Point Area Public School District until his retirement in 1994, developing a three-phase instruction program.
He served in the U.S. Army Reserve, receiving his Officer Commission while at Ripon College in 1958. He was Commander of the 213th Supply and Service Battalion, and 376th Finance Unit in Wausau, and a graduate and instructor in the Army Command and General Staff College. He retired in 1988 with the rank of Lt. Colonel and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.
With his wife’s help, he researched his lineage and located his relatives in Ireland, making several trips back to Ireland. He enjoyed the outdoors and loved camping, hunting and fishing and was an accomplished skier.
He and his wife traveled after retirement, from Alaska to New Zealand, from Europe to the southwest and spent 23 winters in Oahu. An avid sports fan, he enjoyed attending area football and basketball games, often traveling to see his grandchildren play.
He also served as a past president of the Stevens Point Safety Counsel, a board member of the Portage County Red Cross, a member of the Mid-State Epilepsy Foundation and a past president of the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) Southern Wisconsin.
He was also a member of the Stevens Point Area Teachers’ Association, Wisconsin and National Education Association and served as president of the Wisconsin Driver and Traffic Safety Association.
He is survived by his wife Joanne, Stevens Point; four children, Joe (Leisa) Higgins, Rosholt, Bill (Mary) Higgins, Hobart, Kathy (Clark) Gessel, Layton, Utah, and Mike (Erin) Higgins, Sparta, N.J.; and 13 grandchildren, Jessica Eul, Lexie Eul, Jack Higgins, Jenelle Higgins, Isaac Higgins, Emily Higgins, Kristina Gessel, Michelle (Steven) Proctor, Kathryn (Terry) Didericksen, Ben Gessel, Amanda Gessel, Carter Higgins and Grace Higgins.
He was preceded in death by his brothers, William (Marlene) and Thomas (Nona).