Muriel (Smith) Higgins, of the Rock Harbor area of Orleans, passed away peacefully December 19, 2013 after a prolonged series of illnesses, at The Terraces in Orleans. Muriel, a true and beloved Cape Codder, was born March 2, 1926 in Orleans to Ella A. (Bassett) Smith and Roger F. Smith. She grew up in the Rock Harbor neighborhood where she lived in her whole life. As a young girl she would often walk down to her gradfather's store (now Cap't Cass Seafood) and dote on her grandpa until he would give her a bag of penny candy and kindly send her home. Muriel went to school in Orleans and was valedictorian of her senior class, delivering a speech on China (and in those days you couldnt use any notes). After high school she worked briefly Off Cape in Boston until she married schoolmate Reginald, Reggie Higgins in 1945. They proceeded to raise 4 children, many animals and even a family of white tailed deer. Along with raising her family she worked side by side with her husband running Fullers Package Store and eventually built Hilltop Plaza in Orleans. Besides her family, Fullers Package Store (The Store on The Hill) was Muriels life. For 57 years she owned, managed and did the accounting for the store. She was a real people person. Her customers were more than customers- she loved them and they loved her. She answered to Muriel, Mrs. Higgins, Mom, Maam, and even Mrs. Fuller. However known, she was admired and thought highly of by everyone she knew. She was a mom and nana to many more children than her own and will be sadly missed by all. In the early years she sold her homemade barley pops at the store. Later she always had a dish full of her homemade fudge, rum balls, peanutbutter balls or other goodies on the counter for her customers. In the summer it was her homegrown vegetables. Muriel's talents were truly remarkable. She was an avid birdwatcher and always had a filled birdfeeder ready for hungry birds (and those damned squirrels). She knit and did needlepoint to perfection. Her Christmas Stockings are a cherished possession for all that own them. She worked tirelessly in her garden, swatting mosquitos and weeding, to produce lots of vegetables which she happily gave away. There were the dried flowers she grew and turned into beautiful arrangements. She cooked and preserved wonderful things. Her specialties were bread and butter pickles, mustard, relish, spaghetti sauce and beach plum jelly. Her grandchildren lived for her zucchini bread! For many years a nice white haired lady in a red coat could be seen powerwalking around her neighborhood, that was Muriel on her daily walk. She also enjoyed traveling with her husband to Aruba, and other warm spots with her friends Leslie, Sue and Chet. Once in a while she could even be seen in front of a quarter slot machine smiling happily. Muriel was 32 years a widow to her loving husband, Reg, whom she still missed every day. She is survived by sons Gary Higgins and longtime girlfriend Sue Clark of Brewster, Craig Higgins of Orleans, Glenn Higgins and longtime girlfriend Leslie Derrick of Orleans and daughter Cindy (Higgins) Brickley and husband George of Melrose MA. She was Nana to seven adoring grandchildren- Candy Auletto of PA, Duane Higgins of FL, Craig Higgins Jr. of London, and Sarah, George, Hannah and Charlie Brickley of Melrose MA; and 10 dear great grandchildren. She leaves behind cherished friends Anna, Barb, Judy and too many more to list here. A simple graveside service has been held privately. It was her wish to throw her friends a party- a Celebration of Life | that will be announced at a later date. Donations in her memory can be made to the Dana Farber Cancer Institutes Jimmy Fund or simply do a good deed for a friend in need. For online condolences, please visit www.nickerson funerals.com.
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Published in The Cape Codder from Dec. 23 to Dec. 30, 2013