Francis Levi Higman died peacefully on December 26, 2021. He was born on September 13, 1932 in Carthage, New York to the late Levi Christopher Higman and Anna Mae (nee Kelley).
Along with his brothers and sisters, he attended The Augustinian Academy from the first grade through high school. Frank graduated valedictorian in 1950.
Frank left Carthage to begin his lifetime association with Niagara University, graduating with a BA in Mathematics (Magna Cum Laude) in 1954. He attended NU on a ROTC scholarship, entering the Army upon graduation as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army Corp of Engineers. He served as a platoon leader in the 541 Floating Bridge Company. This experience left him with many interesting stories and the chance to see Europe as a young man.
Frank graduated from Syracuse University with a MEd in Math Education in 1957 intending to become a high school math teacher but was offered a position at NU instead. He remained at Niagara until he retired as a Professor Emeritus in 1998.
Frank met the love of his life Barbara Joan Crowley upon arriving at NU in the Fall of 1957. They were engaged the following Valentine’s Day and married on September 13, 1958 (his birthday, as she told him he would never forget his anniversary). They were devoted to each other, making many sacrifices for their children and grandchildren. Barbara died on their 49th wedding anniversary with Frank by her side.
While teaching at NU, he continued his education receiving a MA in Mathematics at SUNY Buffalo in 1963 and attending the University of Minnesota from 1966 to 1968 to continue his post-graduate education. He returned home to Niagara Falls to focus on teaching and raising his family.
Over the course of his years as a faculty member, numerous colleagues became dear friends, and many became “aunts” and “uncles” to his children. He was a mentor and friend to many people who were blessed by his guidance and friendship through the years. One of his proudest accomplishments was as a founding member of the Niagara University Lay Teachers Association. He served as NULTA’s President (and chief negotiator) from 1975-1998. In retirement, he continued his association with the American Association of University Professors for more than 15 years.
Frank practiced his Catholic faith every day in every way. He believed in a Catholic education and though at times difficult, he made sure all his children attended catholic schools their entire lives.
He is survived by his children Sean (Karen) Higman, Kelley (Christopher) Mathieson, Dr. Meghan Higman, Kerry (Michael) Berlinger; 11 grandchildren Ryan (Claire) Higman, Matthew (Samantha) Higman, Caitlin Higman, Hugh, Levi and Isabella Mathieson, Jackson, Ruairi and Ailish Higman, Sarah and Connor Berlinger, and 2 great granddaughters Emilia Higman and Logan Higman. He was predeceased by his daughter Elizabeth Anna Higman and granddaughters Elizabeth Marie Berlinger and Jessie Grace Mathieson. He is also survived by in-laws Sonja Higman, Maureen Higman, Carol Crowley and John Grierson as well as many nieces, nephews and great- nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his brothers and sisters Elizabeth (late Donald) Gaffney, Mary (late Thomas) Freeston, Jane (late Francis) Nortz, Thomas (Maureen) Higman, Joanne (late Charles) Raycraft, Lola (late Richard) Woods and Patrick (Sonja) Higman.
Our comfort is in knowing that he is at last home with his beloved Barb and Our Lord where they will watch over all of us.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Niagara University Alumni Chapel on Saturday, January 22, 2022 at 11:00 am. The family will be present beginning at 10:00 am for visitation. A mask must be worn, even if you are vaccinated.
In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made through memorial donations in Professor Higman’s honor to Niagara University, Office of Advancement, P.O. Box 2008, Niagara Falls, NY 14109, or The Susan and David Bartlett, MD Cancer Research Fund, Allegheny Health Network, 4818 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224.
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