ROCHESTER - Wayne Morris Higgins, 80, of Rochester, died at Wentworth Douglass Hospital on Jan. 12, 2023, after a brief illness. He was surrounded by his loving family. Born on Sept. 1, 1942, in Claremont,Wayne was the son of Stephen and Avis (Randall) Higgins.
Wayne graduated in 1962 from Spaulding High School in Rochester. Always hard working, Wayne started a lawn mowing business at age 10. He worked his way through high school; picking produce at various local farms and then working at Dan's Star Market, before joining the Navy in 1963.
Wayne was especially proud to serve his country and his strong work ethic, studies and determination earned him the rank of Senior Chief Dental Administrative Technician and Collateral Duty Career Information Coordinator. He served on both the USS Fulton and the USS Wasp, ending his naval career in the Branch Dental Clinic in Groton, Conn. His retirement was aboard the USS Nautilus in 1987 where he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, a second Navy Achievement Medal, a Third Meritorious Unit Commendation and numerous other ribbons.
Never idle, following retirement from the service, Wayne worked at Prudential Insurance, at Cabletron and at Key Auto, formerly Midway Buick, right up until two days before his passing.
Wayne's life revolved around his family. Being one of seven brothers, there was never a dull moment. He loved telling stories of their adventures growing up on Meaderboro Corner, in Rochester after moving from North Berwick. His family and extended family enjoyed more than 30 years of New Years Day Celebrations at Wayne's house. As many as 60 people gathered to share stories, laughter and great food. He traveled to Connecticut for parties for family. He could always be found cheering on his grandchildren, nieces, nephews and the Scahill and Demers children in their various activities. He loved campfires with family on weekends and camped in Lamoine State Park many summers. There, he was able to trace his family lineage and this pleased him greatly.
Wayne had many passions. He enjoyed harness racing at Rochester Fair, including racing his own horse with his father. He attended the Fryeburg Fair every October with family. He was an active Soap Box Derby supporter, racing his own car in the 1950s . Since that time he's helped and supported his brothers, his own children, grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, kids from all over New England and dear friends, the Demers family. Wayne was proud to serve as Derby Director in Groton and took great joy in recruiting new racers in New Hampshire. He was proud of taking his daughter Nicole to Akron, Ohio, as the Regional Rally champ and taking grandson Zachary to Berlin, Germany to race in the International Derby. Wayne's love of racing continued beyond Soap Box Derby as he proudly supported the Demers Racing Team as Bob's crew chief in many Sports Car Club of America events.
Wayne was an active member of the Jaycees in Groton and joined the Rochester Jaycees in 1988. He was made a Granite Statesman and a lifetime member in 1993. He worked on parade floats, at the Rochester Fair, 4th of July fireworks, raising money for St. Judes and Children's Christmas. He helped organize several Soapbox Derby Rallies, sponsored by the Jaycees and also organized the Buddy Car division that encouraged kids with handicaps or delays to experience driving a derby car.
Wayne was predeceased by his parents and by his brother Robert Higgins.
He is survived by his children; John Higgins, Nicole Higgins, stepson Ian Mayo and mother of Ian and Nicole; Alice Eisner; grandchildren, Casey Higgins, Jessica Higgins, Christopher Higgins, Austin Higgins, Zachary Higgins, John Higgins Jr., Michael Paige, Jenna Mayo and 5 great grandchildren. Wayne also leaves behind 5 brothers; Richard and wife Kathy, Carroll and wife Rachel, Terence and wife Nancy, Hoagy and wife Felice, Chris, and Robert's wife, Nancy Higgins, numerous nieces and nephews and close family friends; Richard and Karen Scahill and children and Robert and Monique Demers and children.