Homer (Lee) Higley

Homer (Lee) Higley
Date of Death

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Homer Leroy (Lee) Higley, who throughout his 97 years remained knowledgeable and sharp-witted.Lee was born in Burbank, California, on January 14, 1926 to Homer Edward and Ethel Vera Higley. Miraculously, 7-year-old Lee and his 5-year-old sister Barbara survived their parents, who both drowned in the Montrose flood shortly after ringing in the new year of 1934. Lee was found clinging to the family car, while Barbara survived by hanging onto a tree. Both were taken in by their aunt, Elizabeth Brower, and uncles, Roy and Joseph Fortier, of Glendale, California.  

Upon graduating from Glendale High School in February 1944, Lee enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet where he fell in love with flying. While in the Air Corp, he briefly attended Washington State University. The war ended the next year. After being honorably discharged, Lee enrolled in the architecture program at USC and joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, making many lifelong friends. He was a true Trojan for life!  

On June 30, 1947, Lee married Jane Wilson, his high-school sweetheart and fellow USC student. Lee designed and built their first home in Los Angeles. Two daughters, Cheryl and Pamela were born. Opportunity called and Lee and the family moved to Nagoya, Japan. Their oldest son, Mark, was born while living in Nagoya. Lee’s work as an architect took him to various countries throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe.  

After returning to the United States from Japan, Lee and Jane bought a home in La Cañada. Two more sons were born — Christopher and John. Lee and Jane joined St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church, remaining members for over 60 years. Lee and Jane loved to travel and were able to visit many countries and see much of the United States.  

Upon retiring at age 65, the first thing Lee did was adopt a puppy from the ASPCA and enroll in flight school. After obtaining his pilot’s license, he and his son Mark bought a Cessna. With his dog, Domino, beside him, Lee logged many hours flying to various airports, always ordering his favorite lunch at the airport cafes — a chili size. After the Cessna, Lee bought a faster plane — a Beechcraft Bonanza. Eighteen years and many chili sizes later, he gave up flying at age 83.  

Lee and Jane remained living in La Cañada Flintridge until Jane passed away at the age of 94 on September 14, 2020. They had been married for 73 years! The year after Jane’s passing, Lee decided to move into an assisted living apartment at the Oakmont of Redding, California, to be near his daughter, Cheryl, and his niece, Dana, and her family. While at the Oakmont, he made many friends and was particularly blessed by his relationship with resident Nancy Campbell. The two shared many interests and they became inseparable until his death.  

Lee was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Jane, and his sister, Barbara Long. He leaves behind his children: Cheryl McBride (Willie Bergdall) of Redding, California; Pamela Thomas (Lane) of Bend, Oregon; Mark Higley (Dena) of Redington Beach, Florida; Christopher Higley (Mona) of Grass Valley, California; John Higley (Kim Smashey) of Medford, Oregon; his 14 grandchildren: Noel Thomas (Kim); Anthony DeVincenzi; Dana Bell (James); Marc Thomas (Ashley); Connor Higley; Jensen Bush (Brittain); Brad Thomas (Kelli Noftle); Emily Higley; Austin Higley; Erica Biggs (Sean); Reid Higley; Addie Higley; Helio Higley (Taeler); Vance Higley, and his niece, Roberta Crabtree; nephews, Cash Long and Vance Long, as well as 11 great-grandchildren. He also leaves behind his dear companion, Nancy Campbell, her children, and his friends at Oakmont and in La Cañada Flintridge.