Amherst Magazine

William Waugh Higgins
William Waugh Higgins

I’m sorry to report that Bill Higgins succumbed to cancer on August 3, 2005, seventeen days after his seventieth birthday. A long-time resident of Greenwich, CT, he is survived by his wife Judy, to whom he was married for forty six years; six children: Barbara Epifanio ’83 and her husband Bill of Darien, CT; William W. Higgins Jr. ’85 of San Francisco, CA; Mary Dunne ’87 and her husband of Wellesley, MA; Richard and his wife Carrie of Minneapolis, MN; Michael and wife Carla of Weston, MA; and James and wife, Diana of Greenwich, CT; and eleven grandchildren.

I first met Bill at Pratt Pool in the fall of 1953. I was there to scope out the prospects for our first swim team and there was Bill doing the same thing. We introduced ourselves and hit it off right away. When I saw him dive into the water and swim a few laps, I said to myself, “This guy is going to get us a lot of points,” and indeed he did. In fact, I don’t believe there was one meet over four years that he did not contribute meaningfully to the Amherst team as a freestyle sprinter and as a mainstay on the relay team. Bill worked hard at practice and competed hard in meets. While some of us grumbled about the workout that Hank had given us, Bill accepted it without complaint and even on the coldest of winter days was always one of the first in the water. He was a tough, unflinching competitor whom I admired from that first meeting freshman year.

Bill was also a jovial, good-natured man who was fun to be with. We sometimes double dated with Smith women, especially in our freshman year when we were both neophytes in the college world. It was at Smith that Bill met Judy, a gracious and funny lady, and that was it. No more fooling around. He had found his life partner. Fortunately, through Bill I got to know Judy and enjoyed socializing with them at various swimming or other events. Bill was a member of DKE.

After college, Bill and I wound up at Harvard Business School along with several other classmates. We were in different dormitories so we saw each other less frequently but remained friends. He was willing to let me borrow his car when I was in a crisis and in those days there was no clearer sign of friendship than lending one’s car to someone. The year 1959 was important to Bill for not only did he graduate from HBS, but he also married Judy.

He went on to enjoy a successful career at Chase Manhattan Bank. Golf replaced swimming as his favored athletic endeavor. He participated in many volunteer organizations over the years and was a current member of the board of Greenwich Emergency Medical Service, Inc. in New York City. A former trustee of the Canterbury School, which he attended, he was a member of the finance committee of St. Mary Church and of the investment committee of the Greenwich Country Day School.

How do I remember Bill? As a strong competitor, a raconteur par excellence and a man of good humor, generosity and integrity. Bill was also a man of deep faith which I’m sure helped him as he faced the inevitable. I am lucky and pleased to have known and teamed with Bill.

-Bob Keiter ‘57

 

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