Phil Higginbottom was born March 29, 1947, in Easton, Maryland, to Art and Robbie Higginbottom. On the same day, fifty years later, his step-daughter was born, whom he affectionately called "Maggie-Waggie" and she referred to him as "Philly-Willy". |
Graduating as valedictorian of his high school class, Phil received his undergraduate degree in engineering from Princeton University in 1969. After a year of teaching Biology at Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, and being accepted in the Business Program at Stanford University, he chose to attend Columbia Medical School in New York. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency and then his Infectious Disease Fellowship at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
In 1973, at the urging of his mentor, the brilliant Dr. Stanley Freedman, he joined the Division of Infectious Diseases at Scripps Green Clinic and remained there until his death on Dec. 31, 2009. Dr. Freedman stated that "Dr. Phil Higginbottom was a respected and admired physician and colleague at Scripps Clinic." Dr. Higginbottom became Vice President of the Scripps Clinic Medical Group. He was also a valued and inspirational teacher for over 15 years at the Scripps Clinic/Green Hospital Residency Program and it remained one of his greatest daily joys until his last breath. Upon being presented the Faculty Teaching Award in 2008 at the annual dinner, the chief resident was honored to introduce Phil as "The resident's rock, our anchor, a mentor to every single one of us, and someone we can all call a good friend. When the going gets tough, he's our lifeline. When the going's good, he's our biggest fan. And when it seems that all the odds are stacked against you, he's by your side, every single step of the way." "Dr. Phil Higginbottom was clearly the most beloved and revered member of the residency teaching faculty who will leave an indelible and positive mark on the countless young physicians he influenced and trained," states Dr. Joel Diamant, head of the residency program.
Dr. Higginbottom was honored when his peers and colleagues recently voted him as being San Diego Magazine's Best Doctor of the Year in Infectious Diseases for 2009.
Phil's wife, Terry Holladay, says his greatest joy at Scripps was teaching the young doctors in the residency program, taking care of his life-long patients who became family to him, and seeing his beloved colleagues and fellow employees at Scripps Green Clinic.
Those who were fortunate enough to know Phil, always described him as one of the most humble, brilliant individuals as well as a very kind soul-an angel. These qualities were exemplified by his enormous amount of philanthropic work and contributions throughout the community, as well as in his adopted second home of Fiji.
Phil's favorite thing in life was to help people. He loved sailing with his great friends, Tony and Tom, cheering on the Chargers with his profound loves, Terry and Barbara, fascinating dinner chats with Bob and Dr. Black, beach parties with the Holladay gang and friends, and visiting his first family and his childhood home in Tunis Mills, Maryland. But nothing was greater to him then chatting on the phone or seeing his beautiful daughter, Heidi. During his semi-annual humanitarian trips to Fiji, he would spend hundreds of hours treating extremely poor people in the remote villages, and this is what he called a true vacation!
Phil and Terry Higginbottom are the founders of The Dina Humanitarian Foundation. Their mission is to better the lives of children and families in the remote, impoverished villages of Fiji. Dina in the Fijian language means trust and integrity and it is this human quality that is the cornerstone of their work and the value that drives them both. They provide medicine, primary health education/care, basic household items and education material, supplies and support for the natives. "Our purpose is to encourage health, facilitate childhood education, demonstrate trustworthiness, and provide items of real benefit to remote village life", say Terry. This project will only become stronger in the honor and spirit of this great man.
Phil is survived by his daughter, Heidi Higginbottom of Boulder, Colorado; his step-children, Tasha Holladay, Louis Holladay, Maggie-Waggie Foster; and his wife, Terry Holladay.
In addition, Dr. Higginbottom has three siblings, his brother, Dr. Mark Higginbottom and his wife Rhonda of Easton, Maryland; and his sisters, Claudia Parsons and her husband Rich of West Chester, Pa., and Pam Carey and her husband Hugh of Baltimore, Maryland.
The Service will be held on Friday, January 8, 2010, at 1:00 p.m. at the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church located at 120 Stevens Ave. in Solana Beach, California 92075. (858) 509-2580. Please feel free to wear your favorite Fijian attire or casual beach wear! In honor of Philly, we are calling the wake following the service "Bula Bula", which means "Love Life" in Fijian.
In lieu of flowers, he would appreciate your donation instead to The Dina Humanitarian Foundation (501C3), 308 Hillcrest Drive, Encinitas, California 92024. Vanika Vakalevu!