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Baker City, Oregon
Dr. John R. Higgins, 81, a Baker City native, died March 23, 2002, at his Baker City home.
He was lovingly cared for at home by his wife, Esther, following his stroke in November 1996.
The rosary will be said today at 7:30 p.m. at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral, corner of First and Church streets. Mass of Christian burial will be Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the cathedral. Father Rob Irwin will officiate. There will be a luncheon following at the cathedral.
Burial will be at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Dr. John achieved a life of fulfillment devoted to his family, his medical practice and his community.
He was born May 6, 1920, in Baker City to Maude Apple Higgins and Thomas J. Higgins. He was the youngest of four children. His brothers, Thomas and Paul, and sister, Katie, preceded him in death.
John received his elementary and secondary education at St. Francis Academy. Following his graduation from Oregon State he entered medical school at the University of Oregon School of Medicine in 1939. He received his doctor of medicine degree in 1943 and did his internship at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland in 1944. There he met his lovely wife, Esther Natterlund, and they were married July 31, 1944.
John served his country in the military from 1943-46. In October 1946 he joined his father, Dr. Thomas Higgins, in general practice in Baker City, until his fathers retirement in 1956.
Dr. John, or Doc as he was often called, received his board certification as a charter member in Family Practice in 1972, and continued that certification until his retirement in 1996.
He belonged to multiple professional organizations: the American Medical Association, the Academy of Family Practice, and Oregon Physicians Service. He was on medical staff at St. Elizabeth Community Hopsital and served on its board of trustees. The Union Pacific Railroad had him serve as district physician for 44 years.
Dr. John was committed to his involvement in his community by his participation in the Elks, Kiwanis, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus, St. Francis choir, Baker Sheriffs Posse and as Baker County Medical Examiner. His ability for leadership was recognized often as he held positions in any number of his professional, community and church organizations. He served more than a quarter million patients, and delivered 2,600 babies in the Baker community.
Dr. John and his wife, Esther, were married 57 years and were a beautiful example of love and devotion to their family of eight children. He took time to encourage family togetherness. He spent his days off enjoying skiing, hiking, picknicking, fishing and exploring with his family. His famous spaghetti sauce and garlic bread dinners will long be celebrated as a remembrance of him.
He nurtured interests in a number of hobbies. His most recent was his love of spinning and weaving. Prior to his stroke he was often seen at the swimming hole (Sam-O Swim Center) doing his laps. He was always striving to learn more and expand his knowledge. He loved his Baker Valley and hearing the train whistles echoing through its expanse.
Dr. John is survived by his children: John and Bobbi Higgins, Tim and Paula Higgins, Mary Ellen Fullmer, Patty Lee, Matt and Nancy Higgins, Dr. Milt and Catherine Schild, Frances and Glen Hellings, Tom and Ann Higgins; 24 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Surely he is bouncing his grandson, Tyler Higgins, on his knee up in heaven this very day.
Contributions in Dr. Johns memory may be made to the charity of ones choice in care of Grays West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, March 29, 2002
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor