Ernest Whatley Higgins Jr., of Gainesville, died quietly at home the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012. Ernie is survived by his wife, Chris Pepper; his mother, Jane Betts Higgins of Duluth, Ga.; his sister, Betty Daniel (Bill) of Johns Creek, Ga.; his brother, Carl Higgins (Pat) of San Diego, Calif.; stepdaughters, Julie Sevadjian and Sara Tacket; nieces, nephews, in-laws, and a multitude of friends and close acquaintances. He was preceded in death by his father, Ernest Whatley Higgins Sr.
Ernie was born in Rome, Ga., March 26, 1943. Ernie attended Darlington Academy in Rome and Auburn University. He was the founder of Mr. Natural, an organic soil product company. He later partnered with Bobby and Richard Saul to form ItSaul Natural, LLC, a leader in organic soil, engineered soil, and green roof technology.
Ernie was a member of the Southern Nursery Association, Urban Ag Council, Georgia Green Industry Association (GGIA), and a board member of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.
Ernie Higgins never met a stranger and maintained a kid-like zest for life for almost 70 years. He was a lifelong learner and loved to help things (and people) grow. He also enjoyed wine making, a good story, live music, and forging new friendships.
A memorial will be held in the Ed Cabell Theatre at Gainesville State College, in Oakwood, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at 2 p.m. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Smithgall Woodland Botanical Garden and/or the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia.
Memorial Park Funeral Home, Gainesville
Published in gainesvilletimes.com on Jan. 4, 2013