Marion Higgins (right) with GRG founder L. Stephen Coles in June 2005
|Birth:||26 June 1893|
Williamsville, New York, USA
|Death:||2 March 2006|
Seal Beach, California, USA
|Age:||112 years, 249 days|
Marion Bigelow was born in Williamsville, New York on 26 June 1893. She was raised first on a farm in Maine and then on farms in Ohio, Michigan and finally Idaho, where she graduated from high school. She then went to what is now the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, where she earned her bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential, before taking a faculty job at a one-room schoolhouse in Cascade, Idaho.
Higgins married John Higgins in 1918, and she continued to teach while raising three children. One of her sons was born with a deformed leg that made movement in the snow difficult, so in 1927 the family moved to Pomona, California, because of the better weather.
During World War II, Higgins worked in the BF Goodrich plant in Pomona, where she made de-icers for the tails of B-17 bombers. Four years after the war ended, her husband died from a heart attack, aged 60. She didn't remarry.
Higgins had a career with the Los Angeles County assessor’s office from 1947 to 1963, when she was forced to retire at the age of 70. After her retirement, she sang with a choral group called the Ontario Oratorio for 15 years. She was also an active member of her church.
Higgins became the oldest living person in California following the death of Margaret Russell on 29 May 2005. Her eldest son, John, also died that month. In June 2005, in preparation for her 112th birthday, she was interviewed by Andrew H. Malcolm, a Feature Writer from The Los Angeles Times, and L. Stephen Coles, founder of the Gerontology Research Group. In November 2005, she published a collection of her short stories.
Members of her family had also experienced longevity: her father lived to be 101, her mother lived to be 91/92, her sister Myra Gott lived to be 96, her brother Charles Bigelow lived to be 96, her niece Lois Katherine Chaffey lived to be 97.
Marion Higgins died at her home in a retirement community in Seal Beach, California, on 2 March 2006 at the age of 112 years, 249 days. At the time of her death, she had nine grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and 15 great-great-grandchildren.
- Marion Higgins Gallery Gerontology Research Group
- Marion B. Higgins, 112; Oldest Person in California Lived During the Terms of 20 U.S. Presidents Los Angeles Times, 4 March 2006
- Marion Bigelow Higgins (1893-2006) Find A Grave Memorial