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INDEX LAND OWNER PASSES
May 27, 2009
(INDEX, WA) -- A well-known and beloved Sky Valley resident, Index and Big Bend land owner, general building contractor and long time contributing writer to the Monroe Monitor newspaper has passed away.
May 26, 2009. Area off same U.S. forest service road near Index that lies not far from where Steve's body was found. It was an area he loved. CLICK TO ENLARGE
The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s office says the body of 51-year old Steven Lee Higgins, originally from Gold Bar but living in Seattle of late, was discovered Saturday May 23rd just after 8:00 pm about 8 miles up a U.S. Forest Service Road not far from Index.
The Medical Examiner’s office lists cause of death as asphyxiation through self inflicted means. Friends say Steve had been battling health issues in recent years.
Missing persons flyers with Higgins’ picture and vital statistics attached were seen distributed around various Sky Valley locations on Saturday May 23rd. The flyer said Higgins was last seen on Wednesday May 20th.
An employee of the Hoot Owl Chevron station in Sultan said a family member had brought in the flyer and that it was her understanding authorities had traced a credit card charge to one of Higgins’ cards to the Hoot Owl Chevron that Wednesday May 20th.
Snohomish County Sheriff’s spokesperson Rebecca Hoover told the Chronicle the Sheriff’s office was made aware about 4:00 p.m. on May 23rd that Mr. Higgins was missing and that family and friends had been searching for him and his vehicle, a 2005 Blue Subaru Outback.
One of Steve's friends suggested doing a GPS locator trace on his cell phone calls and that trace, the Chronicle was told, was instrumental in helping searchers locate Steve's body.
A WELL KNOWN AND BELOVED FIGURE IN THE SKY VALLEY
Besides his work as a contractor in the area Higgins was a well known and much admired figure through out the Sky Valley as a contributing columnist for many years for the Monroe Monitor newspaper. He mainly wrote about environmental, land use and local government issues and was considered to be a committed and passionate environmentalist.
Friends of Steve tell the Sky Valley Chronicle that he was one of kind, a great human being and that his passing is marked with great sadness.
In an interview last night from Alaska, Andrea Kimble who along with her fiancÚ and partner Shane Turnbull runs an adventure rafting company in Index, Chinook Expeditions, and who were good friends of Steve’s, said his passing is a shame and that many are heartbroken. “He was so loved by so many,” said Kimble. “he was such a nice gentlemen."
Ms. Kimble said Shane was Steve’s closest friend and was aware of Steve’s passing but was unable to be reached later as he is leading a rafting trip and out of cell service.
Andrea said Steve loved to hike and being in the great outdoors but back issues, a shoulder injury and foot problems had curtailed much of his outdoor activities in recent years,
Haven Heidbrink, another of Steve’s close friends reached by phone last night after having just returned from Mexico, told the Sky Valley Chronicle that Steve was a wonderful man who “put the environment first.”
“He was a born naturalist,” said Heidbrink “very observant and a very strong personality, not afraid to challenge others on issues. Whether you loved him or hated him he spoke his mind. Over the years I built four houses with him in the valley. He had a wonderful sardonic wit and was interesting, funny and a great friend. His passing is a very sad time.”
Heidbrink says Steve loved the Mt. Persis area, which is not far from where his body was found.
Leah Wolf of Index, another of Steve’s friends, said Steve’s passing is “very, very sad. We’ve lost a dear friend.”
She described Steve as a “happy go lucky guy who was into his writing and other pursuits, was very busy and was a man who really cared about other people and the environment. He was very accurate in his writings about the environment. He loved to laugh.”
In 2003 when Mr. Higgins was a Gold Bar city councilman he was a vocal leader in opposing the Cadman Company’s proposal to excavate a 250-acre open pit mine near the two lots of land he owned in the community of Big Bend.
Leah tells of a trait Steve had that spoke volumes about his care for the environment. When he would build a house or other project, as soon as he would complete a phase of the project, such as a deck, “he would plant a small plant, tree or shrub nearby.”
Thus one can find today these living, growing monuments through out the Sky Valley that reach toward the heavens and the memory of Steve Higgins; builder, writer, beloved father, husband, son, brother, friend and born naturalist.
Steve is survived by two teen-aged sons, a brother in the area and his fiancÚ Victoria with whom he lived in Seattle in recent months. Funeral arrangements are unknown at present.
If you knew Steve we encourage you to use the Sky Valley Chronicle public forum to share thoughts about Steve and perhaps pictures you have of him doing the things he loved to do.