Joseph Higgins

Obituary of Joseph L. Higgins

Joseph L. Higgins, 75, passed away peacefully at his home in Martinsville, New Jersey, on June 7, 2024. Born on October 19, 1948, in Queens, New York, the second of five children of Walter and Virginia Higgins. Joe's early years were marked by a strong sense of family and a focus on education. He spent his childhood in Queens, later moving to Plainfield, New Jersey, before becoming a longtime resident of Martinsville since 1997.

Joe graduated from Martin Van Buren High School in Queens and furthered his education at Brown University, where he earned a degree in Mathematics. His academic journey continued at the University of Maryland, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics.

His professional career began at Sperry Univac as a computer programmer, a path he continued at AT&T and DBM. Late in his career, Joe shifted gears to follow his passion for the arts, serving as a manager at the Watchung Arts Center for five years before retirement.

Joe was a dedicated member of Wilson Memorial Union Church in Watchung, New Jersey, for over 20 years, where he held the position of board president, led the children’s choir, and sang in the church choir. More recently, he was a member and choir member at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Warren, New Jersey.

Just before his 18th birthday in 1966, Joe and his family faced a profound personal tragedy when his father, an FDNY battalion chief, perished in the 23rd Street Fire in New York City. In the aftermath, as his mother enrolled in college and later became a teacher, Joe assisted her by being a supportive presence for his younger siblings.

Joe found joy in family gatherings, particularly at Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, where annual reunions at a family member's lake house created cherished memories. He was an immensely creative individual, with music and writing as integral parts of his life. He mastered the guitar, bass guitar, piano, and keyboard, but his true passion was singing and songwriting. Joe was an active member of the Storytellers Group, where he wrote songs, poetry, and short stories, and participated in the New Jersey Acoustic Music in the Park series. He also volunteered with Musicians on Call, bringing comfort and joy to sick children in hospitals through music.

Joe was an active member of the Watchung Optimist Club, an organization focused on community service and youth development. As a past president of the club, he was instrumental in many of its initiatives and was honored by being inducted into their Hall of Fame. Joe also volunteered for many years with Habitat for Humanity, contributing his time and skills to build homes for those in need. His commitment to service extended to numerous church mission trips, where he provided aid and support to communities affected by natural disasters. Notably, he worked in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and at the Jersey Shore following Hurricane Sandy, demonstrating his determination to help others rebuild their lives.

A voracious reader, Joe was known for his frequent visits to the library, where he would check out five books at a time, quickly devour them, and return for more. His favorite quote from Alex Trebek encapsulates his love for learning: “I'm curious about everything. Even subjects that don't interest me.”

Joe is survived by his beloved wife, Eileen Higgins, their two sons, Patrick and Tim Higgins, and his siblings, Judy Roberts (Ben), Florence Higgins (John Lebens), Walter Higgins, and John Higgins (Kristen Mrzlak), brother-in-law, Ed McGrath (Julie Johnson-McGrath), and sister-in-law, Patricia Branch (Nick).

A memorial visitation will be held on Friday, July 5, 2024, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at Higgins Home for Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd., Watchung, NJ. A celebration of life to honor Joe's remarkable life and legacy will be held on Saturday, July 6, 2024, at 11:00 a.m., at Wilson Memorial Union Church, 7 Valley Road, Watchung, NJ.

The Higgins family would like to acknowledge the excellent and compassionate care provided by the Center for Hope Hospice and Turo Care home health staff, It was a great solace in a time of need.

Joseph L. Higgins will be remembered for his unwavering dedication to his family, his contributions to the arts, and his profound love for music and storytelling. His memory will live on in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know him.


Memorial Visitation at the Funeral Home

4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Friday, July 5, 2024
Higgins Home for Funerals
752 Mountain Blvd.
Watchung, New Jersey, United States

Celebration of Life

11:00 am
Saturday, July 6, 2024
Wilson Memorial Union Church
7 Valley Road
Watchung, New Jersey, United States
(908) 755-5020
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