Transportation 05

Ralph Emory Higgs

October 5, 1938 ~ March 3, 2024 (age 85) 85 Years Old

Ralph Higgs Obituary

Ralph Emory Higgs, a resident of Shawnee and longtime former resident of San Francisco, passed away on March 3, 2024, after a courageous battle with leukemia. He touched many lives with his gentle spirit and positive outlook on life.

Ralph was born in Independence, Kansas graduated from Independence High School class of 1956, and earned a degree in business administration in 1961 from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

After earning a pilot's license while attending Kansas State, Ralph worked in the field of credit for both Proctor & Gamble and Dunn & Bradstreet in Kansas City before being hired into the United Airlines pilot training program in Denver, Colorado in 1964 at the age of 26.

Ralph's remaining adult life revolved around aviation, including his 34-year piloting career with United Airlines. He retired in 1998 at age 60, from flying internationally out of San Francisco, his favorite route being from San Francisco to Hong Kong. On one of his first flights, he met his ex-wife, Janet Rupp, in 1966. In 1977, he met his life-long partner, Larry Summers. Ralph co-adopted Larry's nephew, Mark Greene, and mentored him from the age of three to adulthood.

Ralph's siblings include his late brother, James Higgs (July 2015) formerly of McAlllen, TX and his sister Marilyn (Ware) Goad who resides in Independence, Kansas.

In addition to those mentioned above, Ralph is survived by two maternal first cousins, Nick Lucas of North Palm Beach, Florida, and Katy (Lucas) Cash of Hopetown, Bahamas, and by generations of nieces, nephews, and cousins.

His father predeceased him in 1938, and his mother predeceased him in 2005. He was also preceded in death by his stepfather Wilbur F. "Larry" Ware, his maternal aunt Dorothy (Hiatt) Lucas, and his maternal grandparents who raised him.

McElyea & Owens Funeral Group in Shawnee, OK will oversee the arrangements. There will be no visitation, as the family is honoring Ralph's request for cremation. However, a graveside memorial is planned for later, with the interment of Ralph's remains in his family plot in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Independence, Kansas.

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