Howard Higgins
Howard Higgins
Howard Higgins
Howard Higgins

Obituary of Howard Leo Higgins

Howard (H. Leo) Higgins, 88, passed away on December 16, 2023 at home in the loving arms of his wife, Joelyn.

Born on October 20, 1935 in Frankfort, Kansas, Leo “came west” with the family in 1938, where many settled in the Kent valley of Washington state after a brief layover in the Yakima area.

Leo loved adventure as a young boy, catching fish and picking wild asparagus for dinner. He often referred to growing up in the “Happy Days” era of the 1950s, with his paper route, grocery store clerk job, and membership in the Coilers Hot Rod Club, graduating from Kent-Meridian High School (class of 1955).

Like many in the Puget Sound area, Leo worked for Boeing in Renton before joining the Kent Fire Department on January 1, 1967, serving as both a firefighter and fire/arson investigator. Upon his retirement, Leo soon went to work for the King County Fire Marshal’s Office, doing plan review and inspections.

In 2010, Leo and his wife, Joelyn, relocated to Sun City, Arizona where the sunshine and numerous activities kept him busy. Rockhounding and Lapidary were a few of his favorite hobbies and he enjoyed meeting new friends at the Bell Center shop where his creative side continued to flourish.

Leo was preceded in death by his parents, Edward (Little Papa) and Laura (nee Waxler), baby brother Donald and siblings Helen and Kenneth, and son Daniel in addition to the mother of his children (Peggy) and second wife Joanne, with whom they enjoyed many road trips to Utah with the kids to visit family.

Affectionately known as Papa Leo, he is survived by his wife Joelyn (aka Jomama), daughters Laurie Corwin (grandson Dustin, wife Kyarsten and great-grandson Nico, granddaughter Taylor), Leanne (granddaughters Raina Altscel (Mikah), Kayla Harmon and great-grandchildren Liberty and Charlie; son Timothy (Carrie Olson), daughter Mindy O’Con (Alex and Heather), and daughter Christine Nebeker (grandchildren Olaf Jr., Kjersti and Thea). Leo also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, in-laws and out-laws.

Per Leo’s wishes, no services will be held. Family and friends will gather this spring in eastern Washington for a memorial and scattering of ashes. For more information and details, please email He will be missed by many.

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Howard
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Regency Mortuary
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