Robert D. Higgins, Jr. ’71
Robert Dana Higgins Jr., age 75, of Harpswell, ME and Birch Run, MI departed us on May 31, 2022. He was a beloved and devoted husband, father, brother, uncle, and grandfather. His independent spirit was interwoven with a fierce loyalty, care, and generosity towards his family and friends. He was not afraid to express love and was loved and admired in turn.
Bob was born on March 14, 1947. He was a true Mainer. He bought his first lobster boat at age 9 with money saved up from raking leaves and shoveling snow. It was, of course, just a small rowboat. But that didn’t dissuade him from plying the waters of Casco Bay and surrounding coves, points, and islands. His after-school activities included cutting bait and setting lobster traps. With a bag of Amato’s sandwiches and dreams of catching the granddaddy of all lobsters, the young daredevil rowed through the waves, even in bad weather.
Bob graduated from South Portland High School in 1966. Senior year he met his first love, Beverly Paige. In the summertime he would ride his Harley down Route 1 and pick up Beverly for weekends at her family’s cottage on Sebago Lake. Bob had planned to continue lobstering after high school. But, after meeting Beverly, he determined instead to chart a career path as a Merchant Marine. The call of the sea and the love of a girl took him to Maine Maritime Academy where he spent 4 years learning math, science, navigation techniques and diesel engines in an environment of strict military discipline, with tough old sailors. Bob graduated in 1971 with a B.S. in Engineering and experience sailing the North Atlantic in wintertime. But the plans to marry Beverly fell apart and that set him on a different course.
Experiencing the societal tumult of the late 1960’s, feeling strongly anti- war, and having a devil may care attitude, Bob moved to South Florida. He had a sharp business acumen and built a commercial charter fishing business. He also learned to fly airplanes. He started small, with the purchase of a Cessna Cherokee, but trained and applied himself until he could purchase and pilot multi-engine Beechcraft, Douglas DC-3’s, Lockheed Constellations, and Learjets. He was incredibly talented and fearless in his endeavors. Being an expert sailor, pilot, navigator, logistician and businessman, he owned and operated many different types of aircraft and seagoing vessels. Bob flew about and sailed the Caribbean for many years with a close-knit group of childhood friends. They spent a lot of time in the Bahamas and visited Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Colombia, and many small islands. When Bob wasn’t working, he was racing his cigarette boat, Porsche, or flying to Aspen.
In 1983, Bob met a Michigan girl in South Florida, Cindy Kay Langschwager. They fell in love, married, and welcomed a son into the world a year later, Robert Dana Higgins III. Bob committed then to becoming a settled family man and a born again Christian. He invested in a small trucking company and bought a farmhouse near Cindy’s parents in Saginaw, MI. The marriage was not to last but Bob did his best as a single parent. Bob greatly valued his family and friends. He opened his heart and home to his son’s friends and family on the Langschwager side. He flew his son to Maine every summer for lobster rolls, to walk the beaches where he grew up, visit lighthouses, and take the ferry boat run along the islands of Casco Bay. Most importantly, he went back to Maine for the Higgins family to be together – aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, and Gram.
In 2005, Bob and his son were talking about life, as they often did. He told his son about his first love, Beverly. As he was telling the story, his phone rang. After 35 years apart, she called him back and said ’yes’. They married shortly after and moved to a house overlooking Casco Bay. For the better part of 15 years, Bob and Bev shared each other’s company again. They were able to look out their window at the ocean, the lobster boats, and enjoy the sea breeze on sunny days.
Bob had a brilliant mind and a sterling reputation in the business community for honesty and dependability. He was a devout Christian and held himself to high moral standards. He never considered himself a people person, yet he had a certain charisma and humility that could instantly make strangers into friends. He found joy in flying, boating, skiing, chess, cooking – especially seafood, and reading his bible. He was our rock, our counselor, our helper, our friend, our happiness. He lived an amazing life, but he made our lives more amazing by being in it.
Bob is preceded in death by: Father Robert Dana Higgins Sr., Mother Constance Louise (Sharpe) Higgins, Sister Ann-Marie Roylance, First Wife Cindy Kay Langschwager, Nephew Jason Todd Deragon.
Bob is survived by: Wife Beverly Paige, Son Robert Dana Higgins III, Sister Dianne Higgins, Sister Catherine Doucette, Sister Theresa Gauvin, Sister Julia Deragon, Nephew Robert Theodore Roylance, Niece Alicia Gauvin, Niece Melissa Trotter, Niece Jennifer Deragon.
Friends and family are invited to visit 2-3pm Friday June 10, 2022 at the Brackett Funeral Home, 29 Federal Street, Brunswick. A memorial service will be celebrated at 4pm at the funeral home. Private interment will be in Mt Pleasant Cemetery, South Portland. Memories and condolences can be shared at www.brackettfh.com.