Cover photo for Arlene V. Higgins's Obituary
Arlene V. Higgins Profile Photo
1923 Arlene 2014

Arlene V. Higgins

June 5, 1923 — February 20, 2014

MASON CITY: Arlene V. Higgins, 90, of Mason City, died Thursday, February 20, 2014 in Mason City. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 AM Tuesday February 25th at Epiphany Parish-Holy Family Church, 714 North Adams in Mason City, with Fr. John Gossman presiding. Interment at the Clear Lake Cemetery will follow the funeral. Visitation will be from 4 PM to 7 PM on Monday, February 24th at Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N. Pennsylvania Avenue with a Scriptural Service at 6:30 PM. Interment will be in the Clear Lake Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the Arlene Higgins Memorial Fund. After ninety plus years of living and loving, life-long resident of Mason City and Cerro Gordo County Arlene V. Higgins has left this world and has traveled onto her heavenly reward. Arlene Violet Long was born June 5, 1923 to George and Laura (Millard) Long. As the youngest of seven children, she grew up on a farm in Lake Township, doing farm chores and raising ducks and chickens. She attended Lake #5 country school and Clear Lake High School, graduating in 1941. Arlene’s fondness for spelling and typing led her to a career as a legal secretary, which she happily continued until her retirement at the age of 81. She worked for several Mason City law firms, including John C. Senneff, James McGuire and Richard Tompkins. Her insistence on correct spelling was one of her enduring traits and she could quickly spot a typographical error in a document or on a roadside sign. She was a fervent fan of “Wheel of Fortune” and solved hundreds of the show’s puzzles long before the on-air contestants did. Her children knew that she didn’t take phone calls during “Wheel”. Arlene was united in marriage to Luke J. Higgins on June 8, 1946 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Mason City. Together the couple traveled throughout the United States and frequently danced to the big bands of the era at the Surf Ballroom. Arlene and Luke had three children, Dennis, Kathleen and Don and she took a break from her career as they raised their children. When Luke died in 1968, she returned to working in law offices, all the while continuing as a loving mother, raising and educating her teenage children. She attended sporting events and school programs throughout their high school and college careers. Annual summer vacations took Arlene and her children all round the United States. Arlene often drove long trips to Dubuque and Chicago to visit Kathleen and her family. In later years, she continued these travels, taking trips in her van with her grandchildren and always keeping the red Coleman cooler full of food and drinks. Arlene took bus tours throughout the United States, taking her to among other places, the Rose Parade and Bowl Game and Alaska. She took several road trips to New York and despite her wariness of air travel, she went on a tour of Europe. In all, she visited all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and several European countries. Following her retirement from the Tompkins Law Firm in 2004, she continued her travels in a bright red Ford Mustang convertible, cruising the Mason City area with the top down and her pink ball cap on tight to keep her hair in place.. She provided her car for a number of area parades, and chauffeured the Mayor of Britt and Hobo Royalty in the Hobo Day parade for several years. Arlene was the ultimate “Dance Mom”, getting Dennis and Kathleen to dance lessons and recitals and later taking them to talent competitions around Iowa and at the Iowa State Fair. In September, 1975, she became office manager for Denny’s School of Dance and remained affiliated with the dance school as a show coordinator. Arlene was an accomplished seamstress, making many of her own clothes. She made dance costumes for her children and later, her grandchildren. She frequently assisted the Newman High School Music Department with costumes for musical productions. Arlene enjoyed planting and growing flowers around her home and she visited area cemeteries days ahead of Memorial Day to decorate the graves of several generations of family members. She cooked and baked and took classes to make ceramics. Many of her ceramic pieces were given as gifts to family and friends. She was a regular viewer of professional golf on TV, with Tiger Woods as her favorite Pro. Arlene often worked as a “roadie” with Dennis and Don as they set-up sound and lighting systems at area events. She would carry microphone stands and roll up cables. But her chief area of expertise was feeding meals and snacks to the production crew. Her late night meals following the fireworks show at Mohawk stadium were a welcomed tradition. She was preceded in death by her husband Luke J. Higgins (December 27, 1968); her parents, George and Laura Long; her brother Lawrence Long; her sisters, Ethel Ransom, LaVerna Hollenbeck, Lucille Schriver, Evelyn Dyer and Dorothy Meyers; brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and several nieces and nephews. She is survived by her children, Dennis (Barb Wilson) Higgins of Mason City, Kathleen Higgins of Vernon Hills, Illinois, and Don (Cindy) Higgins of Mason City; grandchildren, Lindsay (Tim Gnadt) Higgins, Jessica (Mike) Sporleder, Danny Higgins, Karen (Nick) Kaiser, April (Frankie) Jamaica, Matthew (Danika Gump) Higgins, Ashley Higgins, Krystal (Josh Chose) Diekmann, Ashley (Travis Radke) Diekmann, Christopher Diekmann, Christopher Wilson, Ashley Wilson, and Elyssa Wilson; and great grandchildren, Bradyn and Carter Jamaica, Connor and Peyton Sporleder, Alexander Kaiser and Madalyn and Miya Chose, numerous nieces and nephews, Richard and Cynthia Tompkins, and her many friends and neighbors. She was assisted in her final days by the caring staff at the IOOF Home in Mason City, Hospice of North Iowa and by her devoted daughter-in-law, Cindy Higgins. May the memory of Arlene Violet Higgins be eternal. Rest in peace Mom.

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Service Schedule

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Monday, February 24, 2014

4:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Starts at 10:00am (Central time)

Epiphany Parish Holy Family Catholic Church

714 North Adams, Mason City, IA 50401

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Clear Lake Cemetery


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