PIQUA - Jim R. Higgins, 84, of Piqua, died at 12:37 a.m. Saturday, June 8, 2013, at the Piqua Manor Nursing Home. He was born June 13, 1928, in Dayton, the first son of the late K.L. and Wilda M. (Vogler) Higgins.
He is survived by a brother John R. (Martha) Higgins, of Tipp City; a son, Thomas M. (Lynda) Higgins, of Sidney; three daughters, Shawn (Sammy) Regalbuto, of Asheboro, N.C., Rebecca Marcelin of Piqua, Donna (Larry) LaBate, of North Loxahatchee, Fla.; a nephew; two nieces; and a grandson, Brit Marcelin. He was preceded in death by a grandson, Steven Higgins.
Mr. Higgins was a former member of the Lockington United Methodist Church, Fraternal Order of the Eagles Lodge No. 614, the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and a lifetime member of the Association of American Ball Players.
Following graduation from Houston High School in 1945 as valedictorian, he enrolled in Miami University as a liberal arts major and was inducted in the Kappa Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon during this time.
He then joined the United States Army for an 18-month enlistment and was selected to serve in the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, N.M., in Special Services.
He also played shortstop for the battalion baseball team which won the Fourth Army Tournament in 1947 and was named Most Valuable Player of the Tournament. Upon discharge, he embarked upon a six-year professional baseball career beginning in Del Rio Texas in 1948. He also played for Amarillo, Ballinger and Harlington, Texas, and played in just about every tankwater town in Texas and half of New Mexico. The high point of his career include spending three weeks with the Hollywood Stars of the AAAA Pacific Coast League and a month in spring training with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Upon returning to real life, Jim was employed by Hartzell Propeller in 1953 and worked in Production Control for nearly 38 years as dispatcher, planner and production control manager retiring in 1992. While working at Hartzell, he continued playing semi-professional baseball with the Fort Wayne Allen Dairy Club who went to the National Baseball Congress Tournament in Wichita, Kan., five consecutive years winning the National Tournament and then the Global World Series Tournament at Milwaukee, Wis., in 1956. Jim was named to the All-American Team in 1955 and 1956 and was named Most Valuable Player in at the Indiana State Tournament in 1958. Following retirement in 1992, Jim traveled extensively, alternating his residency between Ohio and Florida.
A service to honor his life will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Jamieson & Yannucci Funeral Home with Pastor Paul A. Pearson officiating. Burial will follow at Beechwood Cemetery, Lockington. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.
Guestbook condolences and expressions of sympathy, to be provided to the family, may be expressed through jamiesonandyannucci.com.
Published in Sidney Daily News on June 9, 2013