The first event held in the new wing of the Knox County Nursing Home in Edina was one to remember. Nearly 30 people gathered to celebrate the 100th birthday of one of the residents, Thelma Higgins.
The celebration was held on Mrs. Higgins’ actual birthday, Friday, October 17, 2014, and was hosted by members of the Culture Club, which Mrs. Higgins is a long time member of. Also in attendance was her son, Ron, and daughter-in-law, Vickie, who traveled a long distance from Texarkana, TX, to spend several days with his mother leading up to her centurial celebration. During the party Vickie showed a picture slideshow of Mrs. Higgins over the years.
The Culture Club’s work to make the occasion special included a homemade and hand decorated birthday cake by Linda Bradshaw, mints homemade by Margaret Parrish, who also concocted the lime sorbet punch, and a bright and festive centerpiece comprised of wooden roses in an assortment of colors by Cheryl Berman.
During the party guests chatted about times past over birthday cake and refreshments and spent time visiting with Mrs. Higgins.
Mrs. Higgins was born in 1914. She arrived amid World War I and as automobiles were beginning to revolutionize the country, the war and the world.
She was born to Mack and Ava Williams in Galesburg, Illinois. She lost her mother at a very young age and she was raised by extended family members.
At age 21 she married Clair Higgins. The couple began farming and lived in Henderson, IL. In 1943 the Higgins’ had a son, Ron, who is the couples only child. Mrs. Higgins was a farm wife and enjoyed cooking. She liked to feed the thrashers in the old days and got out in the field with her husband whenever needed.
Four years after the birth of their son the family moved to Knox County and settled in rural Newark. Mrs. Higgins went to work for Blessing Hospital in Quincy, IL, and continued working there until retiring.
After retirement the couple moved to Knox City and began a love affair with traveling bus tours.
In 1987 Mr. Higgins passed away and Mrs. Higgins lived on her own from that time until moving to the nursing home. While in Knox City she took frequent walks and enjoyed decorating for every single holiday. On Halloween she’d make homemade caramel corn for the trick-or-treaters.
“She decorated her house for every holiday,” said Ron, “including Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas, everything. She had two big Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and she made them outfits for every holiday too.”
According to Ron, Mrs. Higgins also liked to decorate her golf cart in patriotic colors and drive it in the annual Fourth of July parade.
Mrs. Higgins is known for living a healthy life, getting plenty of exercise on her many walks, her affinity for the holidays and for her kindness.
“She has always put everyone else first. You know when she was younger and did something for someone sometimes she would get a thank you note. She always wrote a thank you note for the thank you note. That’s just how she is.”