Jean Marie Brown Higby, 94 passed away peacefully on May 14, 2023, at home in Zephyrhills, Florida with loving family holding her hand. She was supported excellently by Gulfside Hospice in Zephyrhills.
Jean was born in Cuba, NY on March 27, 1929 to Athalene Olinda Rowley Brown and Henry Francis Brown, who predeceased her. She was the sixth of eight children and is predeceased by sisters Elizabeth (Ernest) Brown, Evangeline (Elwood) Hillman and, Matilda Stooks and by brothers Merwin, Henry (Jean) and William (Margaret) Brown. Sister Mary (Edward) McCarthy survives. Jean attended the Cuba School, graduating in 1946. She graduated from the Rochester Business Institute in 1947, and eventually came back to Cuba to live and work. She was employed by Cuba National Bank and its successors until 1981, and then became the Treasurer for the Cuba Central School District until her retirement.
In 1952 or 1953 a friend, Mae Higby Bernard, introduced Jean to her brother, Arthur James Higby of West Clarksville, NY. Art and Jean had a whirlwind romance and were married on December 26, 1953 in the middle of a snowstorm. Legend has it that Art’s brothers Vernon and Lloyd kidnapped Jean for a short drive after the wedding. Jean and Art lived for a time in Evansville, Indiana before returning to Cuba.
Jean and Art Higby had four children: Patrice Elaine (John) Metzger, Pamela Jean (Clifton) Swan, Paige Lynn Higby (Marshall Munnis-deceased) and Arthur J (Rhonda) Higby. And six grandchildren: Raymond Kenneth Hatfield, Parker Arthur Lewis Hatfield, Arthur James (Colleen) Higby, Connor James Higby (Rebecca) Munnis, Ashley Rose Higby, and Gene Alexander Higby Munnis.
Jean was a lifetime member of the Cuba United Methodist Church and attended the Zephyrhills United Methodist Church during her winters in Florida. She was active in the United Methodist Women and the Cuba Senior Citizens group.
Family was the most important thing to Jean. She felt that the best she could give her children was to be present for them, and the best she could give her grandchildren were love, good memories, card games and many cookies. She was good friends with her nieces and nephews, many of whom travelled many miles to attend her 80th and 90th birthday parties.
Jean never met a stranger for long. She would always start a conversation with whoever was near her. Her kindness was evident when she assisted a hearing-impaired person at the bank, or when she was delivering Meals on Wheels. She ‘paid forward’ by assisting elderly friends both in New York and Florida and was rewarded with many good friends around her until the end.
Jean enjoyed small pleasures: hanging clothes outside, playing cards- either Canasta with good friends or Gin Rummy with her grandchildren, and going on Adventures. She and Art travelled extensively, but an adventure could be a drive to the beach, or a walk to town. She especially enjoyed trips to Letchworth State Park, particularly on Mother’s Day or Thanksgiving.
Friends will be received at the Mark F. Rinker Funeral Home & Memorial Service, Inc., 9 Bull Street, Cuba, on Friday, June 9, 2023 from 5-7 P.M. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, June 10, 2023 at the Cuba United Methodist Church, 49 E. Main Street, Cuba at Noon. The Rev. Stan Scoville, will officiate.
Burial will be in Cuba Cemetery, Cuba, New York.
Memorials: Gulfside Hospice in Zephyrhills, FL; The Allegany County Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired; and Cuba Circulating Library.
Jeans courage and strength were an inspiration to all who knew her. She will be greatly missed.