Patricia Ann Higham, Dec. 10, 1937 – May 15, 2019
2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
Patricia Ann (Begeny) Higham, of Springfield, died May 15, 2019 peacefully at Mercy Hospital after battling breast cancer. She was 81.
Visitation will be Tuesday, May 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. The funeral service will be Wednesday, May 22 beginning at 10 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church with Father Fergus Monaghan officiating. Burial will immediately follow at Resurrection Cemetery.
Pat was born Dec. 10, 1937 in the small town of Ludlow, Pa. She was the youngest of 10 children. She often recalled her idyllic childhood stating her “family might have been poor, but they were rich in love.” She loved growing up in a large family and often claimed all her older siblings would spoil her.
After graduating high school, a classmate suggested she follow her to Meadville, Pa. to attend nursing school. With no real plans on what she was going to do for a career and at the urging of her mother and older sister Mary, she decided that nursing school “sounded fun.” She later said it was the best decision, for that is where she met the love of her life Richard “Rick” Higham when she was just 19 years old. After dating five years (an eternity she claimed) they got married and started their life adventure together. They were married for 47 years and had five children.
Rick’s work for General Electric took them all over the country with stops in Erie, Pa., Lynn, Ma., Elmhurst, Il., Murfreesboro, Tn., Fort Wayne, In. and finally in 1977 to Springfield, Mo.
With every move, Pat got a nursing job in the local hospital. She often worked nights so she could spend days with her children. When they arrived in Springfield, with kids ranging in age from 6 to 14, Pat decided she was done moving and wanted to put roots down. Her husband agreed. Thus, Pat began a long nursing career at St. John’s (now Mercy) Hospital in Springfield, where she spent more than 30 years working.
In 1980, Pat went back to school to get her Bachelor’s degree. She graduated from Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State University) and started teaching nursing at the former St. John’s School of Nursing. During this time, she also earned a Master of Education from Drury University. She was an instructor for 16 years. Pat loved being a nurse and loved teaching and imparting her knowledge to the next generation of nurses. Upon her retirement from teaching, Pat still worked at Mercy Hospital, primarily on the post-partum floor. She also volunteered for several years on Mercy’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and as a patient chart reviewer for Mercy.
Pat was an active member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church and was a proud participant in its choir for more than 40 years.
Survivors include four daughters and nine grandchildren: Mary Colleen Huycke (John) and their children Patrick, James and Andrew; Lisa Ann Ferbet (Charlie) and their children Emily, Katie and Charlie; Ann Marie Mayuga (Ed), and Joan Elizabeth Straub (Ian) and their children Tivon and Koen; three sisters Helen Davidson, Barbara Travis and Joanne Walker; and many nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her husband, Richard Higham, and son, Doug Higham; three sisters Mary Dahl, Peggy Davis, and Ann Hollick; three brothers John Begeny, George Begeny and Donald Begeny, and parents Mary and John Begeny, Sr..
Pat was grateful for all her friends and family, and often would say she had a blessed life.
For more than 12 years Pat bravely fought breast cancer. She was the epitome of strength and grace, never once complaining about the disease or the numerous side effects from treatment. When asked about her cancer, she wouldn’t dwell on why or how she got breast cancer, instead she would say “why not me?” It was that selfless outlook and fighting spirit that inspired many who knew her.
In lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to Holy Trinity Catholic Church (2818 E Bennett St., Springfield, Mo. 65804) or to the Patricia Higham Nursing Scholarship fund (P.O. Box 410381, Creve Coeur, Mo., 63141). Money from the fund will be used to create a scholarship for aspiring nurses in her memory.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Herman H. Lohmeyer Funeral Home, 500 E. Walnut Street, Springfield, Missouri 65806.
Permanent online condolences, stories and photos may be shared at www.hhlohmeyer.