John Edward Higgins, born May 20, 1935 departed this world November 1, 2020 at Citrus Park, Florida. His wife of 63 years, Dixie T. Higgins, and his daughter, Susanne Marie Higgins Church were with him.
John was a musician from early childhood until his last birthday. His piano lessons began at the age of six, and by age nine he was the pianist for the Salyersville Baptist Church (1940’s-50’s). As a young lad he once played the piano for three straight days at home in his family living room while his grandma Salyer was laid out for viewing. It was said that people could hear the piano and the wailing for several blocks. John also played piano for the Ridge Manor United Church of Christ (2015-19), and for other church services, weddings and funerals. During his early years as a professor at St. Leo University, he conducted all the musicals which were held at the School, as well as each Christmas Mass Choir at St. Leo Abbey.
At the age of 15 he attempted to enlist in the Army to fight in the Korean war, as his brother had done in WWII, and his father in WWI. His mother found out, drove to the recruiting station and yanked him out of the physical exam. This ended his career aspirations for the military. He was the toughest musician there ever was.
There was also a story (rumor) about him and a Gardner boy setting off a box of dynamite on a New Years Eve which blew out every window in Salyersville, but that’s a story for another day.
John received degrees from Morehead State University (KY) and attended Indiana University School of Music. He was Professor of Music for 30 years at Saint Leo University (FL). He taught music in Kentucky, Ohio, Nebraska, and Florida.
John and Dixie also had two sons – John Fred, (Carolyn) and Timothy Alan (Nancy); three grandchildren, Bradley Thomas Higgins (Portland, OR), Michele Higgins (Athens, GA), and John Ethan Higgins (Albany, GA). John’s niece and nephew are Debbie Campbell (Don) (FL), and Pam Patrick Swan (FL), Starr Walker and Cooper Walker (FL).
Services will be held at a later date in Salyersville, KY, Butler, KY, and Ridge Manor, FL. Anyone wishing to send a memorial in honor of John can send it to Salyersville Baptist Church, Salyersville, KY. or Ridge Manor United Church of Christ, Ridge Manor, FL 33523.