After being celebrated on “Gene Higgins Day” last January for his 86th birthday with over 100 people, Gene remarked to many that it was better than any funeral because he got to hear all the fine things folks said about him.
Now Gene is celebrating receiving his angel wings on Nov. 10, 2023, at The Haynes House of Hope in Granville, NY, and is at peace.
Gene was born on Jan. 24, 1937, in Granville, NY, to parents Harold and Myrtle (Jordan) Higgins. He grew up in Rupert, attending school there and high school in Salem, NY, and graduated in 1955 as valedictorian. He attended UVM, graduating in 1959.
Gene taught in Margaretville, NY, for two years, followed by over 25 years at Woodstock Union High School in Woodstock, Vermont, teaching Social Studies and English. He apparently was a very beloved teacher and even in his final days he had visits from former students.
He collaborated with former teacher co-worker Mary Martin on an extensive research project of Welsh immigration to Southern Vermont and neighboring Washington County, NY, in relation to the slate industry. The research won them a fellowship at Wellesley College.
Gene took many trips to Europe and his favorite area, The Isles of Scilly off the Cornish coast of England.
His lifelong interest in history and memory of all of it was incredible, especially that of Rupert. Most often humor was attached to all of his stories. Gene initiated the formation of the Rupert Historical Society in 1990 and has been president continuously since then.
He served the town as Justice of the Peace, auditor, and Board of Civil Authority. Gene was a member, former Deacon, and treasurer of the Rupert Congregational Church. He was also a lay preacher and served the local churches many times to an appreciative congregation and he was sometimes asked to perform burial services.
Gene was a very talented photographer, always with his camera on board to capture so many local scenes to be treasured by so many Rupert folk.
He was predeceased by the Higgins and Jordan grandparents, his parents, his brother Charles A Higgins, aunts, uncles and several cousins.
He is survived by cousins Rose Jordan, Margaret Bain and Mary Williams; and co-worker and friend, Trudy Kelly.
A memorial service will be held at the Rupert Congregational Church on Nov. 21, 2023, at 11 a.m. Burial will be private at the Mountain View Cemetery in West Pawlet, VT.
In lieu of flowers we are encouraging donations to the Haynes House of Hope, 7187 State Route 149, Granville, NY 12832; or to his much beloved Rupert Historical Society, P.O. Box 84, Rupert, Vt. 05768.
To offer condolences to the family, please visit www.gariepyfuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements are with the McClellan-Gariepy Funeral Home, Inc., in Salem, NY.