JOAN HIGGINS HOLT, 81
WINTER HAVEN - HOLT, JoAn Higgins of Winter Haven passed away peacefully, surrounded by her children, on March 13, 2014 in Longwood, FL from a long, brave battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was 81.
JoAn was born in her beloved Haines City, Florida on Valentine's Day in 1933 to "Billie" Williams Higgins and James K. "Jim" Higgins, Sr. Growing up in Haines City, JoAn loved spending time on Lake Eva with friends swimming, boating and waterskiing. She was a member of the girls Varsity Basketball team and voted "Best Dressed" by her Senior Class (a foreshadowing to her lifelong love of fashion!). Every year, she and the Higgins family spent their summers in Balsam, North Carolina where she formed many lifelong friendships and some of her fondest memories - a tradition she continued with her own family.
After graduating from Haines City High School in 1951, JoAn attended Florida State University. She was a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority and earned a B.A. degree in Elementary Education. During her years as a school teacher in Tampa and later at Central Elementary in Haines City, she was well-loved by her students for her kind and caring approach to teaching.
JoAn had the enviable ability to successfully manage a lovely home with six children, while still finding time to become a competitive tennis player and skeet shooter. To her family's great appreciation and enjoyment, JoAn, like her mother, was a wonderful cook and gardener. She volunteered for many years with the Heart of Florida Hospital's Pink Lady Auxiliary and was a member of the Haines City Garden Club and the Contemporary Club of Winter Haven. JoAn also served on the board of the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida.
JoAn loved bringing friends and family together to celebrate holidays, reunions, important family events and other special occasions. A consummate hostess, she graciously entertained on both a large and intimate scale. JoAn possessed that special gift of making everyone feel welcomed and excited to be a part of any occasion she hosted.
Preceding JoAn in death by just thirteen days was her dearly loved husband of 46 years, William "Bill" Holt. Bill and JoAn enjoyed a wonderful life together that included a large group of friends from Haines City, Winter Haven, Tampa and Waynesville, North Carolina where they had a second home for many years. Together, they made a great team raising six children in a happy and loving home. They will be dearly missed by all.
JoAn was also preceded in death by her parents and three brothers, Jimmy, Owen and Bill Higgins, and her grandson, William Gibson "Gib" Holt. She is survived by her children, Kerrin Kuhn of Winter Park, Robert W. Kuhn, Jr. (Kim) of Tallahassee, Michael Kuhn (Ray) of New York, Dave Lane Holt of Winter Haven, Chris Holt Brown (Hoe) of Tampa, and Lucy Holt Ciaravella (Philip) of Tallahassee; grandchildren, Owen and Ben Kuhn, Caroline (Justin) Ervin, Joseph and Christina Ciaravella, and Thomas and Anna Holt; as well as her great-grandchildren Brittany, Haley and Penelope, and many cousins and nieces and nephews.
JoAn's family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the extraordinary nurses and caregivers at Serenades Memory Care Assisted Living in Longwood, FL and Vitas Innovative Hospice Care.
A visitation will be held Sunday 3/16 at Oak Ridge Funeral Care, Winter Haven, from 5 to 7 PM. A Memorial Service will be held on Monday 3/17 at Oak Ridge Funeral Care, Winter Haven at 11:00 AM.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Alzheimer's & Dementia Resource Center, 1506 Lake Highland Dr., Orlando, FL 32803, (407) 843-1910
Oak Ridge Funeral Care
2425 Havendale Boulevard Winter Haven, FL 33881
Published in Ledger from Mar. 16 to Mar. 17, 2014