Winston M. Higgs, 87, of Altus, passed away Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at Bradford Village Nursing Home in Edmond. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the First United Methodist Church in Altus with the Rev. David Player and the Rev. Margie Van Oostrum officiating. Burial, with military honors, will follow services at the Altus City Cemetery under the direction of Kincannon Funeral Home.
Winston Higgs was born Dec. 19, 1925 to Kelcy Higgs and Iva O. (Muse) Higgs in Burneyville, near Marietta. He passed away on May 29 after a brief illness. The youngest of four children, he grew up on a farm and attended Martha Public Schools. In high school, he participated in all sports and was President of the Martha Student Body for two years.
At a young age, he joined the Martha Methodist Church and was very active in youth activities. One of his favorite missions was to visit other Methodist churches in the area and give programs to youth groups encouraging them to become active in the Methodist Church.
Winston attended Altus Junior College, now WOSC and was president of the college student council before being drafted into the Army in March 1944. He spent 27 months in the service, was overseas 19 months and in active combat six months of that time in Germany. During this time he received the Bronze Star in addition to other medals and honors. After returning from Germany in 1946, Winston returned to Altus and attended and graduated from Draughons Business College in Wichita Falls, Texas.
He married Ethelda Hestand, the love of his life, while on leave Aug. 2, 1944 at the Martha Methodist Church. He and Ethelda, married for almost 69 years, have both been active in the First United Methodist Church in Altus.
In 1952, Winston started a career in the fields of finance, insurance and sales. As an up and coming entrepreneur, he worked with Burl Brumley for 17 years before purchasing his interest in Altus Finance Company. A few years ago he sold his interest in the business to Charlene Firth, a long time friend and employee.
Altus was very dear to him and he was active in civic, religious and charitable organizations for many years, including United Way, Salvation Army, Chamber of Commerce, First United Methodist Church, American Legion, Veterans of the Foreign Wars, Oklahoma Municipal League and the Altus Rotary Club. He helped organize and served 25 years as president of the Jackson County Kids, Inc., a group dedicated to developing recreation programs for area youth.
Rotary was a very important part of Winstons life and he was very active. He served as president in 1982 83; and had the distinction of having served as District Governor twice (1989-90 and 1995-96). He served on the Altus City Council for eight years, serving as chairman of the citys finance and management committee and six years as vice mayor. He remained active in city government throughout his life.
Winston was preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, James Higgs and Charles Higgs.
He is survived by his wife, Ethelda; two sons, Larry and wife Kappy of Sapulpa, and Gary and wife Gayle of Oklahoma City; sister, Evie Clinkscales of Altus; six grandchildren including Steven and wife Dorothy of Denver, Colo., Kevin and wife Jennifer of Oklahoma City, Ryan and wife Miranda of Kansas City, Mo., Kyle and wife Jacki of New York City, Kristi and husband Brian Morton of Edmond, and Ryan Matthias of Sapulpa; as well as 10 great-grandchildren.
The family will greet friends from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Kincannon Funeral Home. Online tributes may be made at kincannonfuneralhome.com In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Western Oklahoma State College or the First United Methodist Church of Altus.