RICHARD GEORGE HIGGINS Richard George Higgins, age 64, passed away on Tuesday, July 29th at Christus St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe. Rich grew up in New Jersey and went on to Catholic University in Washington DC, where he met his wife Jean. They were married in 1972 and moved to Maine where he enlisted in the Coast Guard, serving as a Bosun's Mate and his crew's rescue swimmer. He attended the University of Maine, Orono and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Civil Engineering. He was recruited by the Boeing Company and then Rich and Jean moved to Seattle in 1979. Rich started as an engineer on the 757 Wing Stress Design Team and served in a series of jobs, including his favorite position, Chief Engineer of Maintenance. He ended his career as Vice President of the Americas for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. While with Boeing, his lifelong love of history helped him establish long term friendships around the globe from Europe to Asia to South America. Rich began serving on the University of Maine Engineering Department Advisory Board in 2002 and joined the Board of Visitors providing oversight for the University of Maine system in 2012. The Engineering Department Materials Testing Laboratory at Orono is named for Rich and Jean. Rich retired from Boeing in 2005 and moved to Santa Fe with Jean. He served on the Board of the Santa Fe Opera, chairing the Infrastructure Committee and serving as the historical consultant for next year's new production of Cold Mountain. He further pursued his lifelong interest by receiving his Master's degree in Military History from Norwich University. He led numerous staff rides for the US Military at Pecos National Historical Park, which enabled him to meet young officers whose units were deploying to Afghanistan, teaching them the importance of terrain in battle tactics. He also spearheaded the building of a trail on the Glorieta battlefield at Pecos National Historical Park, which was dedicated in 2009. Most importantly, Rich was known for his sense of humor, diversity of interests, sharing and telling of stories, and his relentless pursuit of knowledge. Rich is survived by his wife Jean of Santa Fe, NM, his sister Georgene Aranowski, his brother Mark Higgins (Nancy), and his daughter Colleen, of Denver, CO. Rivera Family Funerals and Cremations 417 East Rodeo Rd. Santa Fe, NM 87505 Phone: (505) 989-7032 Fax: (505) 820-0435 santafefuneraloption.com
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The Rivera Family of Santa Fe Funeral Options
417 E. Rodeo Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Published in Santa Fe New Mexican on Aug. 3, 2014