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Craig DeWitt Higgs


1944 - 2019 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Craig DeWitt Higgs Obituary
Craig DeWitt Higgs March 19, 1944 - February 6, 2019 San Diego Craig Higgs, beloved husband, father, brother, uncle and friend, passed away peacefully at home on February 6, from the effects of sarcoma. Craig was born in Coronado, California to Florence (Fuller) Higgs and DeWitt "Dutch" Higgs, on March 19, 1944, while Dutch was serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Craig was raised in Chula Vista, where he attended Hilltop High School and, in his freshman year, was elected class "dreamboat" by his classmates. (He modestly maintained that the only reason he was elected class "dreamboat" is because his girlfriend at the time was elected class "sweetheart.") Craig went on to attend the University of Redlands and the University of San Diego School of Law.Craig was inspired to take up the practice of law by his father, Dutch Higgs, co-founder of the law firm Higgs, Fletcher & Mack, and a true pillar of the San Diego and California legal communities, having served as President of the San Diego County Bar Association and the State Bar of California. Dutch was also a member of the Board of Regents of the University of California for 16 years and served two terms as its Chair. Craig followed his father into the "family business" at Higgs, Fletcher & Mack after serving a stint at the City Attorney's Office, where he learned to try cases. Craig spent the remainder of his career at the firm, where he initially practiced defense work, later began representing plaintiffs, and ultimately started a successful mediation practice. Craig became an acclaimed mediator, known for his even temper, his tenacity and his sense of humor. Craig was a gregarious presence at the law firm. He loved to entertain the attorneys and staff at the firm by sending a "song of the week" to their voicemails every Friday. With respect to having joined his father's law firm, Craig would often repeat the maxim that, "There is nothing wrong with nepotism, as long as you keep it in the family." During his legal career, Craig served as President of the San Diego County Bar Association and as Chair of the California Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (the JNE Commission), was inducted into the American Board of Trial Advocates, serving a term as President of the San Diego chapter, and was selected as a Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators. He was honored by Best Lawyers in America (2008-2018) and Super Lawyers (2007-2018) and was named Legal Professional of the Year and as a Legend of the Bar by the San Diego County Bar Association. Craig received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of San Diego School of Law and served on the University of San Diego School of Law Board of Visitors.Craig loved almost anything related to the outdoors--hiking, camping, biking, river rafting, body boarding, and many other outdoor activities. He was an avid runner who ran 1,000 miles every year for nearly 30 years, until he could no longer run due to his illness. Over the years, he explored almost all of the national parks in the western United States with his family and friends. He particularly loved Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, which he hiked and rafted many times. Craig also loved to travel. He was a tireless and enthusiastic tourist, wanting to see all there was to see and experience as much as he could in any new place that he visited. In addition, Craig had a passion for cars, regularly attending auto shows, watching auto auctions on TV and spending hours perusing automobile websites. Often, while driving, Craig would spot someone driving a car of the same model as one that he had once owned and would regale his family and friends with stories of the many different cars that he had owned in his lifetime which, he noted, would have been worth a lot, if only he had kept them.Craig was a devoted father. He spent endless hours with his children, engaging in hiking, camping, sports and myriad other activities. He literally traveled the world with his children, delighting in sharing new and exotic experiences with them, and continued to do so well into their adulthood. He was also a very proud father, managing to work into almost any conversation his children's latest accomplishments. Craig had a close group of friends to whom, in recent years, he began to refer as "the old guys." They enjoyed going on hiking and camping trips together, and met for years nearly every Saturday morning for a run followed by breakfast. He treasured the camaraderie that this group shared. Craig is survived by his wife of nearly 26 years, Cynthia Aaron, an Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal, his children, Kiska Higgs, an Executive Vice President at Focus Features in Los Angeles, Alexander Higgs, a writer in Los Angeles, and Benjamin Higgs, a first year law student at Stanford Law School. He is also survived by his sister, Barbara Whelan, and her four children and their families. He was predeceased by his parents and by his ex-wife, Yvonne Higgs, mother of Kiska and Alexander. The family would like to thank devoted caregiver Martha Garza, the nurses from Hospice of the North Coast, and the caregivers from Best of Care, who tended to Craig to keep him comfortable at home in his last days. Craig loved life, but hated funerals. A celebration of his life will be held at a future date when all of his children are able attend. Donations may be made to the National Park Foundation, Washington, D.C., at nationalparks.org.
Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Feb. 10, 2019
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