James Ford “J” Higgins, 58, a resident of Cambridge Warren, Pa., formerly of Tidioute and Erie, Pa., died peacefully Wednesday evening, June 2, 2021, at his residence, after an extended illness.
He was born May 20, 1963, in Erie, Pa. J was the son of James M. and Dorothy Eva “Dottie” Ford Higgins.
J was a 1981 graduate of Tidioute High School and earned his undergraduate degree in political science at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., in 1985. He served with the U.S. Coast Guard as a lieutenant, working on ships providing international drug interdiction, search and rescue and securing wreckage from the Challenger Space Shuttle, after serving 11 years, he was honorably discharged on July 1, 1996. J also earned a second bachelor’s degree as a physician’s assistant, from Gannon University in 2001. He was employed as a physician’s assistant with Dr. David Brooker working with nephrology and dialysis within the UPMC Seneca and UPMC Oil City area hospitals. He also worked with Dr. Norman Beals in family medicine, retiring due to illness in 2016.
J is survived his sister, Capt. Pamela Lyn Coughlin and husband,, Drew of Walnut Creek, Calif.; his brother, John Tod Higgins of Warren, Pa.; and six cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A private graveside service will be conducted at the convenience of the family at Swedish Union Cemetery, Tidioute, Pa. His sister will also provide burial at sea of some of J’s ashes.
Those wishing to place memorials may do so through the Pennsylvania Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association, 2595 Interstate Drive, Suite 100, Harrisburg, PA 17110 or Pennsylvania Soldiers and Sailors Home, 560 E. 3rd Street, Erie, PA. 16507.
E-mail condolences may be sent by visiting www. lewisfuneralhomeinc.com
The Donald E. Lewis Funeral Home, Inc. has been entrusted with funeral arrangements.