Obituary: Higgins, Patrick Ira
HIGGINS, Patrick Ira (Age 68) A lifetime resident of Spokane, Washington, passed away peacefully in the company of his family at home on December 4, 2012. He was born at Sacred Heart Hospital on November 23, 1944, the son of Ira Wilson Higgins, and Regina Klick Higgins. He was united in marriage to Kathleen Wagner August 12, 1967 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Spokane. They were blessed with two children, Timothy Patrick in 1972 and Michael Patrick in 1974. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Kathy; his sons Timothy (Amy) Higgins and Michael (Becki) Higgins; and his sister Betty (Ron) Leibrecht. One of Pat’s greatest joys was his five grandchildren: Hannah, Thomas, Matthew, Katy, and Abigail Higgins, all of Spokane, Washington. He was also survived by numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father Ira, his mother Regina, his nephew Dean Ronald Leibrecht, and his brother-in-law Steven Wagner. He attended grade school at St. Francis Xavier, and high school at Gonzaga Prep and John Rogers. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Eastern Washington State College, and a Masters Degree from Eastern Washington University. Pat was president of Epsilon Pi Tau fraternity at Eastern Washington State College and President of the Northeast Region of Washington Teacher’s Education Association. He was a member of “Big Brothers” of Spokane, a member of the school board for Spokane Junior Academy, a K-10 Christian private school, a charter member of Northwest Christian Car Club, and a member of the Linwood Seventh-day Adventist Church. Pat served in the military in the mid-1960s, taking basic training for the US Army Reserves in Fort Ord, California. He was inducted into the “450 Club” at Fort Ord, having excelled in the combat physical proficiency test, and he was nominated as reservist of the year. Pat received a medical discharge after two years for heart problems that began during a training mission at Fort Irwin, California. Pat had a very strong work ethic, starting with a paper route and collecting wire hangers for a local dry cleaner. He later flipped burgers at Terry’s Drive-In on North Division. He became a journeyman drywall taper in high school and started his own drywall business, Town and Country Drywall, in the late 1960s. Pat taught for Spokane School District 81 for 30 years, initially as a substitute teacher, then he taught Industrial Arts at Lewis and Clark high school for 29 years, 18 of which he was the department head. He started possibly the first high school program in the nation for total electronic digital imaging photography at Lewis and Clark. That strong work ethic was shown by his record of missing only five days of work in his time at LC, and always wearing dress slacks, a dress shirt and tie in his industrial arts classes. Pat had the honor of always supervising the erection of the Christmas tree in the front hall, back when “Christmas” was still a school holiday. Pat was honored as the longest standing member of the LC Care Team. He was a member of a District 81 curriculum committee; creating, revising, and updating new programs. He was also a committee member of the Stay-In-School program. In 1976, Pat built his own custom home, where he lived the rest of his life. Then in 1997, Pat and his family formed Higgins and Sons Enterprises, a speculation custom home construction and rental properties management corporation. One of Pat’s favorite things was building custom furniture that showed off his skill and was admired by many. He also enjoyed photography, trap shooting, travel, and classic cars. He liked to visit the Oregon coast, which brought him great peace and comfort in the final years of his life. Pat developed congestive heart failure in 2001, forcing his retirement from LC. Then two years ago he was diagnosed with cancer, and began his battle that included radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. Pat’s courage and strength were an inspiration to those around him, never losing his sense of humor, even to the last. Visitation will be held Friday, December 14, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday, December 15 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at Heritage Funeral Home. A Funeral Service will be held on Sunday, December 16, 2012, at 12 noon at Heritage Funeral Home, followed by interment at Greenwood Memorial Terrace. Memorial Contributions may be made in Pat’s name to a charity of your choice.