Helen Muriel (Vogt) Higby
March 9, 1935 – September 16, 2017Helen, the creative, vibrant, and beloved wife of Thomas F. Higby, M.D., of Fowlerville, Michigan, passed away in her home with her family on September 16, the day before their 62nd wedding anniversary. She radiated feisty independence and energy, qualities that were mirrored by her flame red hair and bright emerald green eyes.
As a very young child, Helen was positioned in a playpen next to the wood stove in a one-room school house where her mother taught; she grew up on a gentleman’s farm in rural, Tuscola County, MI, with 2 school teachers as parents, the late Gertrude and John Vogt. Helen attended nursing school at University of Michigan (U-M) in Ann Arbor for 2 years and then graduated from the U-M School of Education. She was a school teacher, a full-time mother of 4, a medical records specialist, and partner in Ready Care, a walk-in, urgent care facility in Howell.
Helen enrolled in numerous cooking classes of which her family benefited greatly, becoming proficient in a variety of cooking and baking techniques, including Chinese, German and French. Helen’s annual holiday baking was legendary; she prepared more than 60 different cookie and pastry types that were served to her children on dinner plates (her children were blissfully ignorant that dessert plates were the small ones in the back of the cupboard). Additionally, she was an avid student of botany, a proficient gardener, and she maintained an extensive collection of orchids.
Helen created a relaxed home where the neighborhood children would play with hers, snack on home baked cookies, and come for special attention on important issues, such as the removal of slivers. Her family home was where she would later entertain and care for her grandchildren, sneaking them brown sugar “lumps,” reading stories, and creating lavish doll houses and original, sewn costumes for play. She was the ready foster mother and nurse for orphaned sparrows, discarded or lost cats and dogs, an injured pigeon, and other creatures too numerous to mention. Helen and Tom organized several epic 1-month family camping and hiking trips to the western states (where she would tender her resignation as the voyage’s co-captain by the time the family reached Arizona over a skillet of Hamburger Helper).
Helen is survived by her husband and dearest friend, Tom; her sister Ruth (Vogt) Curry; her son Daniel T. Higby of Adrian, MI, and his partner Sarah Byrd; her daughter Susan M. Higby of Barre, VT, and her partner Mark S. Waskow; her son David B. Higby of Gaines, MI, and his spouse Kelly and children Makenzie, Alexandra and Dorian; and her daughter Carolyn (Higby) Violetta of Fowlerville, MI, and her spouse Scott and children Dominick and Ian.
We always expected our Helen to live to be nearly 100 years old like her mother; Parkinson’s disease and dementia robbed us of this added life adventure. Nevertheless, our memories of Helen, a magnificent spouse and mom, will endure.
The family would appreciate cards and letters; please do not send flowers. You may make contributions in Helen’s name to a conservation organization of your choice. There will be a private gathering in the spring of 2018 with her immediate family as the flowers are unfurling their new growth. Arrangements by Herrmann Funeral Home. Please leave the family a condolence at pjherrmannfuneralhome.com
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