Waterford - Emily Marie (Zeppieri) Higgins passed from this world peacefully in her home, with caring relatives and friends at her bedside on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, after a short illness.|
She was born on Feb. 2, 1921, in Groton, the youngest of nine children of the late Sebastian D. Zeppieri and Elvira (Alviani) Zeppieri of Groton. She was a class of 1940 graduate of the Williams Memorial Institute in New London.
She was married to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Waldron T. Higgins in 1946, at Sacred Heart Church in Groton. Emmy became a skilled military wife, making comfortable homes for them as she accompanied Wally during his service in various parts of the United States, Japan, Italy, Spain, Turkey, England, Greece, and the Netherlands. She became an accomplished hostess to their military friends and civilian dignitaries throughout the world as she supported Wally's military career.
Upon retirement in 1976, "Wally and Emmy" came home to be with relatives and old friends. They purchased a stately classic home overlooking Fishers Island Sound in the Eastern Point section of Groton, where they entertained family and friends as the consummate host and hostess for many years until moving to Waterford, where they continued their active social life, making many new friends in the process.
She became actively involved with the Military Officers Association, Catholic Charities, the Waterford Country School, March of Dimes, Waterford Women's Club, Child & Family Services, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, Thames River Garden Club, Groton Republican Committee, Red Cross, Groton Beach and Parks Board, Groton Art Committee. She was also an active member of the Thames Club in New London and the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C. With her upbeat personality, positive attitude, and enthusiasm for life, she became one of the most popular figures in the community.
Emmy is survived by her sister, Terry Pfeil of Waterford, and many nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her parents; four brothers, Fred Zeppieri Sr., Paul Zeppieri, Anthony Zeppieri Sr., and James Zeppieri; and three sisters, Iolene Venditti, Helen Altman, and Cecile Vail.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, corner of Montauk Ave. and Squire St., New London. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. Calling hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Byles Memorial Home, 99 Huntington St., New London
Donations may be made to Center for Hospice Care Southeast Connecticut, 227 Dunham St., Norwich, CT 06360 or Lawrence + Memorial Hospital Development Fund, 365 Montauk Ave., New London, CT 06320.
Please visit www.byles.com for directions, to sign the guest book, or share a memory.
Published in The Day on Feb. 18, 2013