Remembering Gary Higginbotham

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I feel like I can finally write about Gary, and what his loss means to me, so here goes.

Gary Higginbotham

Gary Higginbotham

I wish I could say that I had known Gary my whole life but that’s just not how it was. My parents, both born and raised in Texarkana, moved away to the Little Rock area before I was ever born. I didn’t have the privilege of growing up around my paternal grandparents, or any of my aunts, uncles, or even any of the many cousins I didn’t even know about. I didn’t even know another Higginbotham relative existed outside of my immediate family unit, until 2011.

I met Gary for the first time on the 23rd day of May, 2011 when a desire to know more about my family became a mission of sorts. Cousin Nedra Turney took me to meet Gary and Bessie. We had an instant connection and Gary filled a gap in my heart that I didn’t even know existed. After that first meeting, we spent hours, and if you know Gary at all, you know I truly mean hours, chatting on the phone. These chats almost always pertained to his love of his family. I learned about my grandparents from him. I learned about his parents, his children and his grandchildren. He had a passion for his family, unlike any I have ever seen before.

Gary and Bessie

Gary and Bessie

His love for Bessie, was evident and strong. I admired his devotion to her. He told me one time, “Every morning Bessie and I get up and have coffee together and sit and talk. Sometimes we talk for a long time, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes I just enjoy her presence before we even start our day. She’s my everything and there isn’t one thing I will ever want to do or will do if Bessie isn’t included.” He was devoted to her and loved her immensely, and it showed.

Gary and Bessie

Gary and Bessie

The day of Gary’s funeral Bessie, who just happens to be the strongest woman I have ever known, told me, “When I first met Gary, I didn’t know how to love. I was bitter. I thought all men were mean and I didn’t even know how to hug my own children because that isn’t how I was raised. Gary taught me to love. His endless hugs, and kind words, and his constant loving affection towards me, taught me how to love. ”

What a true testament to the character of Gary. He also taught me what love was and what was missing from my life, just by how he treated Bessie. I see the same in my father towards my mother. Gary and Bessie were married 46 years, and my parents have been married for 50 years, just this past September. What strong, wonderful Higginbotham men.

I learned many things from Gary. I would come for visits and we would drive all over town and he would point out all the places that were dear to his heart, and they were always centered around his family, past or present. I heard the stories of his childhood, his youth, and his adulthood. We laughed and always had a good time when we were together.

I know how much he loved his children and grandchildren. I already knew his youngest son Milton, but he wanted me to meet his son’s Gary Jr., and Mike so bad. He would call me up and say, “When are you going to Crossett with me? Mike is coming in town can you come? Don’t wait until my funeral to meet my boys!” Sadly, that is just what happened. Gary’s health seemed to decline and he never really felt like he could get far from home. I’m sure Gary knows that even though I met them at his funeral, we will stay in touch and never lose track of the family again, because that was important to him.

In the short time that I knew Gary, he taught me what true love means. He opened his heart and his home to me and treated me like a daughter. I will never forget the wonderful times I spent with him and they will fill my heart forever more. He was like a father to me, and I will always love him dearly. He was my buddy, through and through and I will always be grateful for the time I was given with him.

The best way to honor Gary is to love your family. Show them what love is, and let nothing get in the way. If you love someone, don’t waste time. Show them. Treat them like Gary treated Bessie. Life can go in an instant. Do you want to leave people wondering how much you loved them? I can guarantee you one thing; no one around Gary could ever doubt that he didn’t love him or her. He showed them, and he told them.

What I wouldn’t give for one his teddy bear hugs right now!

Rest in peace, Gary. I miss you.

Category: Memoriam

RIP – Gary Higginbotham

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Oh boy, this is a hard one to write.  My Dad’s first cousin Gary Higginbotham passed away last night from a heart attack.  I don’t even have the words right now to describe what Gary meant to me.   He was my buddy, and I loved him so dearly.  My heart will have an empty hole in it forever more.

Please pray for Bessie his wife, and their children and grandchildren.  It will be tough days ahead.

Bessie and Gary Higginbotham

Bessie and Gary Higginbotham

Remember our deal, Gary, and I’ll see you when I see you.

Category: Genealogy

Around the Compound – Life Changes

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Hello, it’s been a while since I posted.  So much has happened since the last post and I haven’t known what to even say about it all.

On Halloween, Knucklehead and I went to Shreveport to party it up with cousin Kookie.  We had a blast, here are a few pictures from our night. This picture of myself kind of creeps me out now.  It didn’t at the time, but oh well.  We had fun at any rate.

Kookie - Halloween 2014

Kookie – Halloween 2014

 

Knucklehead - Halloween 2014

Knucklehead – Halloween 2014 – Pre Execution

 

Knucklehead - Halloween 2014

Knucklehead – Halloween 2014 – After Execution

 

Knucklehead - Halloween 2014

Knucklehead – Halloween 2014

We had a great time at Kookie’s house, and I can’t even tell you how many trick or treaters she had come through there, but it was a ton!  They came on trailers, in the back of trucks, in cars and in droves just walking up.  It was so fun to see all the different costumes and kids having a great time.  Knucklehead had a blast jumping out of that coffin scaring people when they walked by.

The next day, we got up early and came home.  I had dropped Knucklehead off at his Dad’s on my way through and it’s a good thing I did for when I got home, I found out The Hubs, as I have called him on here, had moved out.  I was very glad Knucklehead wasn’t with me at that moment.  I had no clue this was going to happen at that moment, but I did however know a storm was brewing.  It had been for a while.

I don’t have anything bad to say about that man, but I don’t have much good to say and my momma has always told me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all so that’s what I’m going to do.

I will say (ha ha, I knew I had to say at least a little something) though that now that the dust has settled and my life is back to a normal routine, I’ve come to realize that I was terribly burdened for a long time trying to make someone happy and keep the peace, and not having to do that anymore has improved my life immensely.

My family rallied around me and I have never felt so much love and support from them, and from good friends.  They have never failed me, when others have.

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

I see nothing but good days ahead for me and Knucklehead. We had a great Thanksgiving, my brother had some friends of his come in town, and my friend Jennifer, her husband Chopper and daughter Haley came, and we just had a really good time.  Jennifer took the picture so regrettably, she isn’t in it.  She and family spent the night and left the next day, and we had a great time catching up with each other.

With Christmas just days away and my other son Justin coming in town for the holidays, this is one happy momma and I can truly say that I am so blessed.

I’ll be back to my regular genealogy posts and more around the compound updates after the first of the year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

Susie

 

Around the Compound – Fly By’s

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I thought I would share this video with you my brother John Higginbotham made.  I’m always referring to our place as the compound and in this video you will see why.  My brother has a helicopter and using GoPro’s he filmed our area.  My nephew William Higginbotham is playing the piano, and later in the video my brother John is playing the guitar.  I’m totally impressed and hope you will be too.

You can see my house around 1:10 in the video.  He comes up from behind my barn and chicken coops and then flies over the house and the next house is his.  When he flies over my parents house, they are surrounded by so many trees you can’t see much but he flies over comes over his pond and around the highway back around the other side of Dad’s property and you can then see his row of Bradford Pear trees.

To give you an idea of the layout of the land, I labeled this shot taken from his video.

The Compound

Awesome video John, thanks for letting me share it.

Category: Genealogy

52 Ancestors – #21 Joseph F. Herring

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I have decided to accept the challenge of Amy Johnson Crow over at No Story Too Small blog. Amy challenges us: 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.  I think this is an excellent challenge as I tend to focus on my brick walls, and this will force me to fan out in my tree and focus on other ancestors.

This is week 22, and my 21st post.  Yes, I missed last week and so I will be doing two posts this week to get caught back up.  For this post, I’ll be talking about Joseph F. Herring, my 3rd great-grandfather.

Thanks to bible records shared with me by cousins Martha Harris Horn, and her brother Butch Harris, we know that Joseph F. Herring was born on 11 Mar 1839.  From other family stories and notes, we know his father was John S. Herring and his mother was Mary Elizabeth Sutner.

JF Herring Birth Record

JF Herring Birth Record

We also know that he married Mary George Hooker on the 19 Jun 1865. You can read about her here:  52 Ancestors – #12 Mary George (Hooker) Herring Bickley.

JF Herring marriage to Mary G Hooker

JF Herring marriage to Mary G Hooker

We know he died on 20 Jul 1875.

JF Herring Death Record

JF Herring Death Record

We don’t know where he died, or where he is buried.

There has also been some confusion about his name. Every record I have seen either says J.F. or what I thought was Jas. F. Herring. For instance, after finding the date of their marriage in the bible, I found the original record recorded in Lafayette Co., Arkansas.

JF Herring and MG Hooker Marriage Record

JF Herring and MG Hooker Marriage Record

Doesn’t that look like Jas. F Herring to you?

However, after finding this deed record, I know his name is Joseph F. Herring.  I’m not attaching all the pages, but it does go on to say the land was previously owned by John S. Herring, and Mary G. Herring also signs the deed with him.

Deed Joseph F Herring  to Peter R  Johnston

Deed Joseph F Herring to Peter R Johnston

So, all this time I thought his name was James F. Herring and now I find out it’s Joseph.  After finding this out, I found him in the 1860 census with his mother, Elizabeth, and possibly a sister Ellena.

Elizabeth Herring 1860 Census

Elizabeth Herring 1860 Census

And that’s basically about all I know of Joseph F. Herring. I hope to find where he is buried and maybe a picture of him someday. I feel sure that one of the unidentified pictures that Martha and Butch have is surely of him since there were so many of his wife, but since they weren’t named, we will never know for sure if he is in any of the photos. That is such a shame!

This is how I descend from Joseph:

Joseph Herring to Me

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