She was born October 2, 1945 in Red Banks, NJ to Lilburn F. Gross and Elizabeth Alexander. She was raised in Cheney, Wash. and later in Molson, Wash., graduating from Oroville High School in 1963. After graduating she attended the Kinman Business College in Spokane, where she met William L. Higley. The young couple eloped to Couer D’Alene, Idaho on April 6, 1964.
Mary is preceded in death by by her mother and father and a son (Shell Scott). She is survived by her husband, Bill; a son, Duane Higley (Christina) of Payette, Idaho; a daughter, Sara Richins (Steven) of Yacolt, Wash.; a step-daughter, Brenda Chilson (Ron) of Coudersport, Penn.; her brothers, Philip Gross and John Zesiger and sisters, Ellen Newton and Annabell Scriven. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren and three great granddaughters and hundreds of ex-students who affectionately referred to her as Grandma Higs.
Mary worked for the USPS for many years in Michigan, then as a newspaper reporter in Oroville, Wash., as an apartment manager in Washington and the job she enjoyed most was as a substitute teacher in both Sunnyside, Wash. and Payette, Idaho. It was nothing to walk into a restaurant or store and have kids come up to Mary and say Grandma Higs and give her a hug.
She enjoyed crocheting afghans for grandchildren, was an avid reader and enjoyed bowling before an injury ended her bowling fun. But for years she enjoyed going to the bowling lanes with her husband, Bill, watching him bowl and visiting with the other bowlers, their spouses and the bowling alley employees. She was always ready with a kind word and made friends everywhere she went with her kindness and willingness to listen. She also enjoyed Mandala coloring books, watching her fish and watching her daughter’s children.
Mary served as a relief society president, family history consultant and her favorite calling as a visiting teacher for the LDS Church.
A memorial service will be held Monday, July 9 at 10 a.m. at the LDS Chapel in Payette, Idaho. There will be a luncheon to follow in the cultural hall for family and friends.