In Memory

Melva Higgins

Melva Joan Higgins was born in Shell Lake, WI on November 14, 1950 to Melvin and Opal (Pickett) Higgins. She died suddenly at her home in Eau Claire WI, on June 15, 2020.

Mel grew up on her parent’s farm in Rusk Township, Burnett County. She attended grade school at Green Grove Elementary and graduated from Spooner High School in 1969 as the class Salutatorian. She attended the University of Wisconsin, Rice Lake from 1969 to 1971 and went on to the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire where she majored in biology and mathematics, graduating cum laude with her Bachelor of Science in 1973. She returned to UWEC to earn her Bachelor of Nursing, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1978. Mel worked a variety of medical/surgical, medical telemetry, and critical care jobs until 1986 when she moved to Mayo/Midelfort Clinic, Allergy and Asthma Clinic. It was there that she brought her heart, compassion, and sense of humor, eventually becoming the RN Supervisor, AE - C until retirement in 2016. 

Throughout her life, Mel developed an affinity for genealogy. She was fascinated by the characters that made up her family line and the stories she found in her research. To her joy, she most recently traced her European heritage to the mid 1600’s. She was always very excited when she found a picture. Mel always had a camera in her hand at gatherings because it was important to document our reality, not just for us, but for other generations. Mel had a lifelong love of music. As a small child, Mel and her sister Dee were taught by their mother, Opal, to sing in three-part harmony. Mel was always singing, especially when that song supported her dry humor. In 2005, she began to write country music songs. In 2010, Mel was thrilled to become a published songwriter. Most recently, she was teaching herself to play the hammered dulcimer so she could continue to play music with arthritic hands.  

Mel loved in big ways. She enjoyed traveling to see the people she loved, wherever in the world they may be. She wrote her Christmas cards in October so they could be addressed by the first week of November and ready to be mailed the day after Thanksgiving, so you knew she was thinking about you. She listened without judgement, loved without conditions, encouraged others generously and lived fully. She remembered every birthday and had an infamous pun for every occasion. She snorted when she laughed and then laughed because she snorted. Repeatedly. Sometimes until it hurt. 

Survived by a nephew, Michael Amans of Birchwood, WI; a niece Sandra (Jason) Miller of Omaha, NE; great-nephews: Darrell Amans, Charles Miller and William Miller; stepbrothers: Dan Curdy of New Salem, MA and Brian (Maryvonne) Curdy of Uvrier, Switzerland and many special cousins, amazing friends and fellow country music enthusiasts at Country Jam. Preceded in death by her parents Melvin Higgins and Opal Curdy, stepfather Vinet Curdy and a sister Delores Cartwright.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, July 11th from 9:30 AM to 12:00 (noon) at Stokes, Prock & Mundt Funeral Chapel, 535 S. Hillcrest Parkway, Altoona with a celebration of life immediately following with Pastor Frank Knoop presiding.  

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be donated to a charity of your choice in Mel’s name; or Mel would be honored if you would deliver a random act of kindness in her memory.

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06/27/20 12:26 PM #1    

Jeff Nelson

Melva, was a very nice person. Intelligent , talented, great sense of humor . I was very sad to hear she had passed away ! 

06/27/20 09:22 PM #2    

Valerie Stellrecht (Huffman)

How grateful I am for the blessing Mel was to so many people and especially to me.  Her kindness, compassion, and cheerful spirit were always an inspiration.    In addition to being first cousins we were best friends, always together during our school years and staying in contact often throughout our lives.  She will be so greatly missed.

06/28/20 09:54 PM #3    

Lavonne (Bonnie) Hinkfuss (Franz)

It was with sadness that I read the email from Jeff regarding the passing of Melva.  She was a very warm person who shared her kindness with everyone.  I think I still have several of the Christmas cards and letters she sent over the years in which she mentioned her new found hobby of song writing.  She will be missed!

06/28/20 10:49 PM #4    

Judy Campbell (Bolterman)

Mel was such a nice person.  I don't think I ever heard her say a bad word about anyone.  She had a wonderful smile, great sense of humor and had a deep faith.  I remember having several classes with her in high school and she always seemed to know the answer!  We both attended UW-EC after graduation, she went the Biology route and I went the Nursing route.  After graduation we lost touch so I didn't realize that she had gone back to UW-EC to get her BS in Nursing.   Then my son needed  to see the allergist in Eau Claire and who should be his nurse but Mel!  We exchanged info and from that time on we kept in touch.  Whenever she would write or we would talk  she would always ask about Mike.  She was a very compassionate person and who ever was lucky enough to know her was Blessed.  Rest in peace, Mel. 

06/29/20 11:14 AM #5    

Susan Holmstrom (Genson)

Am unable to honestly say I knew Melva as well as I would have liked to in High School so was grateful for her lovingly written obituary which paints a portrait of a life well lived, reminded and gave me a very real sense of the person she was in High School and beyond! It's clear that she enriched the lives of all she touched and left a legacy of kindness, love and caring for others to follow. My sister, Stacy, said it well for both of us when she commented how happy she was to know that Melva was one who recognized life is short, followed her dreams, pursued and realized them! Joining in honoring Melva's memory and sending my deepest sympathy to all who are reflecting on her life, love and miss her and mourn her passing! 

06/29/20 05:04 PM #6    

Marilyn Salts (Vraniak)

So sorry to hear of Melva passing.  When I think of Melva in school, she was a real genuine Gal.  She would always greet you with a smile, taking time to chat with you.  She emailed me many years ago and I was so excited to hear from her which prompted a telephone call.  She was writing songs and sent me a link so I could listen to them, which I truly enjoyed.  A talented and intelligent Gal.  Sending condolences to Melva's family and those close to her.  

06/30/20 11:48 AM #7    

Dave Davenport

Once again we are hearing devastating word that we have lost one of the kindest Souls in our Class. My deepest condolences to Melvas Family and to our wonderful memorable Class of 69.

07/15/20 08:23 PM #8    

Colleen Cipra (Haines)

I didn’t know Melva that well but it was obvious she was a very smart sweet person.  Always sad to lose a classmate.

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