James “Okie” Higgins fought the good fight of faith right up to the day and hour he went to dance on the streets of gold with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
He had many nicknames that he went by, Okie, Dad, Mr. Higgins, Pa, Grampa, Jimmy and Papa by his great granddaughter Neveah, 1-year-old.
James Higgins was born in Hugo, Okla., on April 17, 1939 and passed away Sept. 7, 2016, at the ranch in Columbus, Mont., surrounded by loved ones. Grampa always had a kind word and a conversation for a stranger. He was ready to serve his friends or family day or night. He moved his family to Roundup, Mont., in 1974 and started his own contracting business. His specialty was tackling the jobs others shied away from. He always considered Roundup home.
He and his wife Patricia “Trish” Higgins raised their children Frank and Stephanie there and have many cherished memories and friends there.
He was especially proud of his work accomplishments, like lifting existing houses and digging a basement with a skid steer, pouring a new basement and setting the house back down; working on the John Day Dam on the Columbia River; developing springs for water at the ranches; running a heavy sweeper broom on a chip seal job, flagging for a crack seal crew or building a retaining wall at the Eugene O’Neill historical site in the bay area in California. Mr. Higgins truly could do it all.
In 1989, Dad helped his daughter Stephanie and son-in-law Jim Bailey start their new business, Hardrives Asphalt Paving. He always had a travel bag packed and was ready to go on the next road trip or job adventure. He enjoyed his lapdogs over the years and being surrounded by friends and family on holidays. He loved camping, and road trips to see his brother and sisters in the South. In 2015 they moved to Columbus to be closer to family and help with the family ranch. He really enjoyed working with and feeding the cows.
Grampa was an honest, straight-forward Godly man. His work ethic and wisdom will be missed by all. Grampa knew how to enjoy the finer things in life like a tailgate lunch at the ranch, a hamburger from King’s Hat drive in, or dinner at the Golden Corral. When he had time he loved to go junking down the side streets and back alleys in different places. Grampa was a mentor not only to his co-workers, but to his son Frankie, son-in-law Jim and grandsons, Isaac, Nathan, and Preston.
Pa Higgins was the go to guy for all who knew him. He was giving of himself to others right up to the end. He accompanied his wife Trish to a quilt show just a few days before his passing to please her.
He is in heaven right now visiting up a storm with friends, family and complete strangers. Pa Higgins will be sorely missed, but not forgotten by all who knew him.
James is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Patricia “Trish” Higgins of Columbus, Mont., son Frank (Trina) Higgins of Kalispell, Mont., daughter Stephanie (Jim) Bailey of Columbus, Mont., sisters Mella Rocha of Mt Pleasant, Texas, Bonnie Landes of Hope, Ark., Oleta Elmore of Hutchins, Texas, Linda Orsburn of Mt Pleasant, Texas, and Birdie McCann of Sulphur Springs, Texas, brother Chester Higgins of Hugo Okla., grandchildren Isaac and Nathan Higgins, James, Preston, Samantha, and Morgan Bailey, and great granddaughter Neveah Ash.
He is preceded in death by his mother Dolly Higgins, father Johnnie Higgins, brother Wesley Higgins, an infant brother Edward Higgins, two sisters Marie Smith, and Maudie Leona Higgins.
A funeral service was held Monday, Sept. 19, at Heights Family Funeral Home. Interment followed funeral service in Columbus Cemetery.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.heightsfamilyfuneralhome.com