Margaret A. Higbie

Date of Birth

March 3, 1924

Date of Death

April 23, 2009

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Margaret A Higbie, age 85, died peacefully on Thursday, April 23, 2009, surrounded by her children and grandchildren, at Marge Mason’s Montecito Senior Care in Santa Barbara, her cheerful home of the past three years.

Elegant, free-spirited, humorous and loving, she will be greatly missed by all who knew her. She had lived in Santa Barbara for the last two decades.

Margaret was born on March 3, 1924 in Eveleth, Minnesota, to Edmund Rodden, a Canadian pro hockey player, and his wife, Zillah. She grew up in Toronto and enrolled at the University of Toronto for a year before enlisting in the WAVES during World War II. Her military service included assignments as a gunnery instructor at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, NY and the Naval Training Center in Boston, MA. Later she was editor of the Quonset Scout at the Naval Air Base, Quonset Point, RI.

In 1948, she moved to London and married Charles E. Higbie, whom she had met when he was a reporter at the Providence Journal covering the Quonset Point Base. While in London he did graduate work while she studied art, and they had their first child. They subsequently settled in Madison, where he joined the University of Wisconsin faculty, and they had three more children. They divorced in 1961.

In Madison, she worked at The Wisconsin State Journal, the School for Workers, and the U.W. Department of Mathematics, among others. She also returned to college at the U.W., earning a bachelor’s degree in French and linguistics in 1975 and a masters degree in African linguistics in 1979.

Her many interests included reading, art, music, traveling, gardening, genealogy, dance and drama. In Wisconsin, she enjoyed taking many dance and acting classes and performed with the Madison Theatre Guild and the Wisconsin Players. In California, she served as a docent with the Pacific Asia Museum. More recently, she traveled to Ireland in pursuit of her family roots, and twice to Asia — first to visit cultural sites along the Yellow River and later to explore the gardens of Southern China.

She is survived by her children, Lee of Santa Barbara, CA; Roger of Westport, CT; Alan of Montclair, NJ; and Janet of New York City; her daughters-in-law, Bette Briggs and Hyun Higbie; and grandchildren, Paul, Elliot, Miles, and little Noah.


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