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WILLIAM HENRY HIGGINBOTHAM III Age 32, died tragically Friday, May 24, 2013 in a helicopter accident near Cross Timbers in Hickory County, Missouri. Will was born in Mesa, Arizona on December 26, 1980. He grew up in Coolidge and Florence, Arizona, graduating from Florence Unified High School in 1999 and joining the U.S. Army soon after. Sgt. William Higginbotham was first stationed in Alaska and then transferred to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy. He served in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was part of a combat jump into Northern Kirkuk. He also served in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He completed his military service after 7 years. Will studied aviation science at Utah Valley University. He was employed by Lucas Oil as their chief helicopter pilot, a profession that allowed him to spend time doing one of the things he loved best, flying. Those who knew Will remember him as a model of genuine kindness, thoughtfulness, and optimism. Whether helping a stranger stranded on the side of the road, calling to check in on one of the many who were privileged to call him family or friend, or soaring across the desert sharing his passion for flying with new friends; Will exemplified unending kindness. He was loyal, a master at keeping in touch with family and friends regardless of where life led him. Once Will was a part of your life, you could count on him being there whenever he was needed, and would find yourself looking forward to his next phone call or post, illustrating his most recent adventure. Will lived his life to the fullest, brave and wise beyond his years, never letting fear prevent him from fulfilling his dreams. An accomplished climber, artist, writer and pilot, Will loved the time he spent in nature, often surrounded by family and friends. He noticed more than most people do, and had learned to see the good in all. Life provided Will with obstacles, but his courage, faith, eternal optimism, and humor led him to an inner peace, allowing him to heal the wounds he'd incurred. He had become a man a friend described best as, "Good to the core." Remembering his sense of humor, various pranks, eye opening adventures, and unwavering love and support will continue to serve those who loved him as a source of healing. His mantra, "Life is good" will forever resonate in the hearts of those he touched as they strive to view the world as openly as Will did. Preceding him in death were Will's biological father, William Henry Higginbotham; grandparents, Bill and Dorothy Higginbotham and Joan Kennedy; uncles, Jerry Higginbotham and Randy Kennedy; and great-grandparents, James and Arlie Stone, Claud and Jane Williams, Fay and Bill Higginbotham, and William and Ida Laughlin. He is survived by his parents, Tim and Terri Kennedy; sisters, Heather Garcia (three children) and Stephanie Mena (two children); brothers, Aaron Higginbotham, Bryan Maracle, Marcus Jones (two children), Josh Felix, Joe Leatham, Derek Huss (two children), Nolan Bousquet and Scott Sprague (three children). The love of his life was Kari-Lyn Molles. He is also survived by grandparents, Bill Williams, Jack and Donna Ovitt, and Barney Kennedy; aunts and uncles, Karen and Gary Romines (Jamie Sue, Krissy & Missy), James and Michele Higginbotham (Danielle & Devin), Patty Burton (Shonn, Amber & Brian); and cousins: Audra Higginbotham (Daniel, Seth & Victoria), Fallon Kennedy, Kayla Stegman, Megan Kennedy, and Jessica Kennedy. He has many other cousins and relatives that he always held close to his heart. Will's thoughtful nature led him to consider his death in spite of his youth. In a letter to friends, Will outlined his wishes, should he pass from this earth prematurely. He loved his mom and did his best to ensure she would be taken care of when he was gone. The final word Will wished to have communicated to all was "Peace". In lieu of flowers, Will's family and friends request donations towards a memorial foundation that is being created in Will's honor. All donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Branch to the William Higginbotham Memorial Fund, just mention that the account was created in Washington. Friends are invited to join Will's family for a sunset memorial to celebrate Will's life, which will be held at the Coolidge Airport in Coolidge, Arizona on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6PM. Memories, photos and videos of Will can be shared at memorial.yourtribute.com/ williamhigginbotham


Published in Press-Enterprise on June 5, 2013
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