Category Archives: Memoriam

Rufus Earl Higginbotham, Jr., 85 Years loved!

Rufus Higginbotham
Rufus Earl Higginbotham, Jr.
25 Mar 1934 – 1 Mar 2020

Rufus Earl Higginbotham, Jr., my father, passed away on March 1, 2020 surrounded by his loving family. It’s taken me quite a while to be able to write this. This was a really hard one. I never thought Dad would last very long without Mom, but he sure gave it a good ole try.

In the end, his heart and body just simply gave out on him because he I know he wasn’t ready to go anywhere even though I know he missed Mom something fierce. He was a fighter til the end.

I thought I would just share here what I wrote out for his Memorial as it sums him up pretty good. I couldn’t read it that day, but my brother Butch read it for me. Dad would have been very proud of the friends and loved ones that showed up for him that day. It was a wonderful tribute to him.

From the memorial:

I would like to say that my Dad was a man of few words, but as everyone here knows, that simply isn’t true.  He had many words, and mostly inappropriate ones.  He was funny and loved a good joke as long as he wasn’t the butt of one.  He loved telling jokes with a good shock factor and in fact, one vivid memory I have as a young teenage girl was him calling me into the kitchen to tell me a joke.  When I arrived, John and all his friends were there, most of which I probably had a crush on at one time or another.  So, Dad called me over by him and they all stood as silent as I did, waiting on the joke.  He put his arm around me and pulled me close and said, “Susie, I’m going to tell you a joke that is going to knock your boobs off.”  He looked down at me, smiled and said, “Oh, I see you have already heard it.”  Of course, the kitchen filled with cackles and I was mortified.  But that was Dad.  I didn’t get to spend much time with him as a kid, his passion was hunting and fishing and that’s where he was most of the time.  But when we were together, he would take me fishing on Indian Head Lake and I loved sharing that time with him.  As I grew older, and Mom and Dad spent so much time at the racetrack, I tagged along.  I loved going to Oaklawn with them.  One time, either Dad or someone else with him super glued a silver dollar to the ground right outside of their row of seats in the main walkway and we spent hours watching and laughing at the people trying to pick that silver dollar up.

My Dad was generous.  If you needed something and you called him, then he would do his best to give it.  He always told me his favorite thing to give someone was credit that they couldn’t get anywhere else, because he believed everyone deserved a chance to make a good living and he wanted to see people succeed.

He wasn’t known much for patience unless he was waiting on that deer to walk by or that fish to bite. But as he grew older, and especially since Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I realized his patience was never ending.  He answered each of her questions, the exact same way, with love and kindness, no matter how many times that day she had asked the same question, and no matter how many times he had repeated the answer.  One time I counted in the car; he handed her a red tube of lipstick 22 times because she couldn’t remember putting any on, and he did so each time with a smile on his face.

Dad and I were able to really bond over the last three years that he lived here with me.  It wasn’t always easy, but we were team Mary Helen and after she passed, we were team Rufus.  I wouldn’t trade one minute, the good ones or the hard ones that I spent with them.  I promised I would never put them in a nursing home and somehow, by the grace of God, I was able to keep that promise and I would do it all over again, if given the chance. 

However, there was a time two years ago, that I didn’t know how I was going to make it, or if I was going to be able to keep that promise, and then Ashlie Tanner showed up.  She brought her “A” game and got me through that hard time, and over the last two years she has guided me through, offered support and comfort and lovingly cared for my parents as if they were hers.  It has been something I truly could never repay to her and I thank you, Ashlie, for everything you have done for me and my family, from the bottom of my heart.  I love you so much.

I also want to thank my kids for sharing me with my parents, for their sacrifices as well, and for being so loving to their grandparents.  I love you both so much.

Of all the things you know about my Dad, there is one thing you may not know about, and that was his faith.  He had a strong faith, and it never wavered.  He prayed for a miracle for my mother right up until she took her last breath.  About a week before he passed, we talked about his defibrillator, and that I thought it was time we turned it off.  He wasn’t so sure about that, and I asked him if he was scared and he said “No”.  I told him I knew Mom was up there waiting on him, tapping her foot and asking Jesus, “What’s taking Rufus so long?”  Of course, Mom was the one that had no patience.  He smiled at that and said he couldn’t wait to see her again.  Three days later, as he was in and out, he grabbed at the air, and said “Come sit here Baby Doll.”  There is no doubt for me, they are together again.  I will miss them terribly, but I have great joy knowing they are together again.

He thought of his friends as family, and I know he loved each one of you here in this room.  I know this because I heard him pray for each of you every night.  Thank you all for coming and thank you for being good friends to my parents.

RIP in Dad. I love and miss you terribly.

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Remembering Gary Higginbotham

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I feel like I can finally write about Gary, and what his loss means to me, so here goes.

Gary Higginbotham

Gary Higginbotham

I wish I could say that I had known Gary my whole life but that’s just not how it was. My parents, both born and raised in Texarkana, moved away to the Little Rock area before I was ever born. I didn’t have the privilege of growing up around my paternal grandparents, or any of my aunts, uncles, or even any of the many cousins I didn’t even know about. I didn’t even know another Higginbotham relative existed outside of my immediate family unit, until 2011.

I met Gary for the first time on the 23rd day of May, 2011 when a desire to know more about my family became a mission of sorts. Cousin Nedra Turney took me to meet Gary and Bessie. We had an instant connection and Gary filled a gap in my heart that I didn’t even know existed. After that first meeting, we spent hours, and if you know Gary at all, you know I truly mean hours, chatting on the phone. These chats almost always pertained to his love of his family. I learned about my grandparents from him. I learned about his parents, his children and his grandchildren. He had a passion for his family, unlike any I have ever seen before.

Gary and Bessie

Gary and Bessie

His love for Bessie, was evident and strong. I admired his devotion to her. He told me one time, “Every morning Bessie and I get up and have coffee together and sit and talk. Sometimes we talk for a long time, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes I just enjoy her presence before we even start our day. She’s my everything and there isn’t one thing I will ever want to do or will do if Bessie isn’t included.” He was devoted to her and loved her immensely, and it showed.

Gary and Bessie

Gary and Bessie

The day of Gary’s funeral Bessie, who just happens to be the strongest woman I have ever known, told me, “When I first met Gary, I didn’t know how to love. I was bitter. I thought all men were mean and I didn’t even know how to hug my own children because that isn’t how I was raised. Gary taught me to love. His endless hugs, and kind words, and his constant loving affection towards me, taught me how to love. ”

What a true testament to the character of Gary. He also taught me what love was and what was missing from my life, just by how he treated Bessie. I see the same in my father towards my mother. Gary and Bessie were married 46 years, and my parents have been married for 50 years, just this past September. What strong, wonderful Higginbotham men.

I learned many things from Gary. I would come for visits and we would drive all over town and he would point out all the places that were dear to his heart, and they were always centered around his family, past or present. I heard the stories of his childhood, his youth, and his adulthood. We laughed and always had a good time when we were together.

I know how much he loved his children and grandchildren. I already knew his youngest son Milton, but he wanted me to meet his son’s Gary Jr., and Mike so bad. He would call me up and say, “When are you going to Crossett with me? Mike is coming in town can you come? Don’t wait until my funeral to meet my boys!” Sadly, that is just what happened. Gary’s health seemed to decline and he never really felt like he could get far from home. I’m sure Gary knows that even though I met them at his funeral, we will stay in touch and never lose track of the family again, because that was important to him.

In the short time that I knew Gary, he taught me what true love means. He opened his heart and his home to me and treated me like a daughter. I will never forget the wonderful times I spent with him and they will fill my heart forever more. He was like a father to me, and I will always love him dearly. He was my buddy, through and through and I will always be grateful for the time I was given with him.

The best way to honor Gary is to love your family. Show them what love is, and let nothing get in the way. If you love someone, don’t waste time. Show them. Treat them like Gary treated Bessie. Life can go in an instant. Do you want to leave people wondering how much you loved them? I can guarantee you one thing; no one around Gary could ever doubt that he didn’t love him or her. He showed them, and he told them.

What I wouldn’t give for one his teddy bear hugs right now!

Rest in peace, Gary. I miss you.

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Category: Memoriam

RIP – Edward Joseph Baker, Jr.

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John Higginbotham, Addie (Baker) Higginbotham, Eddie Baker, Bette (Baker) Jarreau

John Higginbotham, Addie (Baker) Higginbotham, Eddie Baker, Bette (Baker) Jarreau

My sister-in-law Addie (Baker) Higginbotham (my brother John’s wife) lost her father this morning.  He was such a precious man and he will be dearly missed.  Please send prayers and comfort to Addie and her brother Doug Baker, and her Aunt Bette Jarreau for their loss, as well as their families and the many friends that will miss Eddie.

We will post more information when we know more about the arrangements.

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RIP – Cousin Terry Dodd

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Our family started off the New Year on a down note. We lost our cousin, Terry Dodd. Terry is my second cousin on my Dad’s side of the family. Please pray for my family, and Terry’s immediate family as they adjust to life without him. I’m sending my prayers their way too.

Terry Dodd

Terry Dodd

Terry Doyle Dodd age 57, of Texarkana, Texas, died Wednesday, January 1, 2014 in a Tyler, Texas, hospital.

Mr. Dodd was born June 15, 1956 in Texarkana, Arkansas and was a lifetime resident of Texarkana.

He was owner and operator of Dodd’s Deer Processing Co. in Texarkana and attended Echo Hills Baptist Church. He was also a former member of the Texarkana Boots and Saddle Club. He began his career at Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store at the age of sixteen. After learning the grocery business he began working for DeLaughter’s Grocery and became manager of the Meat Department. After working there several years Terry opened his own meat processing business and was a very successful meat cutter for over forty five years.

He is survived by his wife: Patty Dodd of Texarkana, Texas; two sons: Randy Dodd and Ricky Dodd both of Texarkana, Texas; his mother and stepfather: Ruby and Dewie Edward Higgs of Texarkana, Texas; one brother: Gary E. Dodd of Texarkana, Texas; one sister and brother-in-law: Elaine and Tommy Brooks of Texarkana, Arkansas; brother-in-law and sister-in-law: Jimmy and Debbie Jones of Texarkana, Texas;one step brother, Glen Cummins of Austin, Texas; one half brother, Benny Dodd of South Carolina; one half sister, Diane Robbins of Pensecola, Florida; three grandchildren; and a number of nieces,nephews and other relatives.

Funeral services will be 10:00 A. M. Monday at Chapelwood Funeral Home Chapel with Dr. Truman Campbell and Eddy Haynes officiating. Burial will be in Chapelwood Memorial Gardens.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home Sunday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 P. M.

The family will be at 2607 Shady Pines Rd., Texarkana, Texas 75501.

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Charles Arthur Smith 1980 – 2013

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Today, my 2nd cousin Hayley James Smith will lay her husband to rest.  Less than a year ago we nearly lost Hayley while giving birth to her sweet baby boy Jackson Layne Smith.  She’s a fighter though and truly a miracle.  I know God has awesome plans for her, but please pray for her and the children as they navigate through these very hard times.

Friends are setting up a meal train, and donations would be appreciated for the children to the scholarship fund at Red River Federal Employees Credit Union acct #739517

Charles Arthur Smith

Charles Arthur Smith, age 32, of Texarkana, Texas, died Monday, May 27, 2013, from injuries received in an auto accident.

Charles was born June 15, 1980, in Texarkana, Texas. He was a graduate of Texas High School and was an employee of Direct TV.

Survivors include his wife, Hayley James Smith of Texarkana, Texas, one step-daughter, Carson Brooke Law of Texarkana, Texas, two sons, Charles Austin Smith and Jackson Layne Smith of Texarkana, Texas, his mother and step-father, Wanda and James Lee of Texarkana, Texas, three sisters, Tonya Smith Berton of Texarkana, Arkansas, Ashley Smith and Lori Irving of California, and four brothers, Sam Smith of Texarkana, Arkansas, Dewayne Smith and Edward Smith of Texarkana, Texas, and Johnny Lovette of Dallas, Texas.

Memorial services will be at 4:00 P. M. Friday at the Chapelwood Funeral Home with Rev. Josh Lee and Rev. Hal Haltom officiating.

Memorials may be made to: Scholarship Fund for his children, Red River Federal Employees Credit Union.

Smith Family

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