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Lieutenant Colonel (Army National Guard, Retired), C.J. Higgins, age 77, of the Cane Branch Community, went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, August 22nd, at his home surrounded by his loving family. A native of Yancey County, he was a son of the late Rev. Cecil and Hazel Higgins. In addition to his parents C.J. was also preceded in death by siblings: Doris, Evelyn, Virginia, Patricia and Cotton. C.J. retired from the US Army National Guard after 31 years of faithful service. As a National Guardsman he trained hundreds of servicemen, many of whom went into combat. The servicemen he trained often looked to C.J. as a father figure and several went on to become officers of high rank. C.J. attended ETSU where he was a decorated football player, winning many championship games. He also took pride in being an active member of the youth baseball league in Unicoi, TN. C.J. was light on his feet and an avid dancer and square-dancer. He enjoyed horses and has served as a professional equestrian judge several times. C.J. loved his church, Emmaus Baptist Church, and his church family. He was a member of Vesper Lodge #554 A.F. & A.M. in Spruce Pine for 50 years and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine in the Oasis Shriners of Charlotte since 2006. C.J. cared so much for his beloved wife, Judy. He loved his family and his legacy of service to others will never be forgotten.
Surviving is his loving wife of 14 years, Judy Higgins; son, Bradford J. Higgins and wife, Marsha, of Roan Mtn., TN; step-children: Susan Hoyle and husband, Billy, of Bakersville and Charles Steven Cooke and wife, Angie, of Asheville; grandchildren: Kayla Elkins (C.J.'s "Wonderwoman", as he called her) , and husband, Alex, of Spruce Pine, Dillon Oaks and wife, Kelsee of Newland, Rachel Higgins of Burnsville, Dustin Johnson and wife, Holly, of Roan Mtn., TN, Ashley Johnson also of Roan Mtn., TN, Austin Cooke, Landon Cooke and Madison Cooke all Asheville; great-grandchildren: Alexis and Easton Elkins, Sydnee and Ezra Oaks and Marley Johnson; and a sister, Mary Cliff of Sebastian, FL.
Funeral services will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 26th in the Chapel of Yancey Funeral Services with Masonic Rites by Vesper Lodge #554 A.F. & A.M. Rev. Luther Carver will officiate. The family will receive friends two hours prior to the service, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., at the funeral home. Graveside services with full military honors will be held Monday, August 27th, at 10:45 a.m. at Mtn. Home National Cemetery in Johnson City, TN.
The family wishes to express their appreciation to the staff of Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge and asks that in lieu of flowers memorial donations be made to their organization at 236 Hospital Dr., Spruce Pine, NC, 28777.