A photo of Raymond Bennett “Ray” Higgins

Raymond Bennett “Ray” Higgins

January 1, 1930 - July 22, 2021

Raymond Bennett “Ray” Higgins, age 91, of Newark, Delaware, passed away in his home, surrounded by family on Thursday, July 22, 2021.

A loving husband, father, and grandfather, Ray is survived by his wife, Arleen Higgins; his children, Jill Higgins, Cindy Higgins, and Chris Higgins from his first marriage; his step-children, Susan Askew and Bob Williams; ten grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. 

Ray was born on the first day of the first month of 1930, the son of Harold Bennett “Dick” and Nellie Higgins, and raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. Predeceased by his brother, Robert, and his sister, Betty Jean Wallace, Ray is fondly remembered by his nephew, nieces, and their families.

Ray was a vibrant teacher, dedicated to public education. Over the course of a long career, he brought history, economics, and psychology to life for students at Dickinson, Christiana, and Glasgow High Schools. He loved, accepted and respected his students equally, without prejudice, and modeled acceptance of different points of view. His love of education extended beyond the classroom into everyday conversation where he delighted in looking at things from new angles and finding out about the interests, concerns, and exploits of others.

At Glasgow, Ray served as head wrestling coach for many years, building a competitive program and mentoring multiple generations of wrestlers both as athletes and as young men. His love of the sport began during his own competitive career at Upper Darby High School and Franklin and Marshall College.

A veteran of the Korean War, Ray was active in the teacher’s union and the Delaware Democratic Party. Having worked on some of his early campaigns, he lived to see Joe Biden elected President of the United States.

Ray enjoyed his view of Christina River, poring over the local papers, growing vegetables, walking at Carpenter Park, Rehoboth vacations, and cooking breakfast for a crowd. He was happiest when devoting himself, as he did throughout his life, to the happiness and well-being of others. He will be greatly missed.

All services will be held privately.

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54 Condolences for Raymond Bennett “Ray” Higgins

  • “Mr. Higgins” was such a positive force in so many people’s lives, I can only imagine how deeply he is missed. So sorry for your loss Arleen.

  • We’ll never forget the wonderful times at Rehoboth Beach, 25+ years ago when Ryan wore a Class of 2001 t-shirt. I think he was three. Ray was such a sweet man with a big heart and a beautiful smile, and such a gracious host. Memories are blessings and I’m filled with gratitude for the times I spent with Ray. Sending my love to Arleen, Jill, Cindy, Chris, Susan, Bob and the whole family.
    June Blotnick (and Doug Sea), Charlotte NC

  • As a college senior in the spring of 1970, I had the good fortune of being assigned as a student teacher to Ray Higgins at Dickinson High School. I could not ask for a better mentor and role model. I went on to teach at Dickinson with Ray and, 51 years later, I’m still teaching full time — thanks to Ray Higins. Ray was, without a doubt, the best teacher I’ve ever seen or worked with and a great friend. Perhaps more importantly, he was an outstanding, generous, and warm-hearted man who will be missed by everyone who knew him. My condolences to his wife and family.

  • The one teacher that was everyone’s favorite! Always gave that big smile like you alone were the most important person in the world to him. He made such a significant impact on all his students and he was always invited to every one of our Dickinson High School class of 1969 reunions. What a legacy he leaves behind.

  • I am sincerely sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Higgins. He was a great teacher and a great wrestling coach. Mr. Higgins impacted my life as a student at Dickinson HS and then again made an impact on my son Mark’s life as his wrestling coach at Glasgow. Your memory carries on. God Bless you Mr. Higgins and Peace beyond understanding to his family.

  • This picture is exactly how I remember Mr. Higgins! A giant smile and a vibrant personality. I was fortunate enough to have Mr. Higgins as a teacher at Dickinson High School in 1976, my senior year. His class made such a lasting impact on me that I still speak of him to my own children. His passing is a great loss, but he will be remembered for the many lives he touched. Prayers for strength to get through this tough time.

  • Arlene, we were so sorry to hear of your loss. Ray will be missed by many. I always enjoyed conversations with Ray. Our thoughts are with you and your family at this time of loss.

  • Mr. Higgins was one of the most caring educators I had while attending Glasgow High School. His cheerful attitude and ability to educate was one of the many reasons that make him a great person.

  • Arleen and Family:
    Tom and I are so sorry for your loss. Memories of “Mr. Higgins” at John Dickinson High School are very special. His love of his students and his support for us made our high school years wonderful times.
    I know he will be deeply missed by so many.
    Praying your tears and sadness will be comforted by you loving memories, Patty

  • I had the greatest privilege of having Mr. Higgins as a teacher. I think his obituary states exactly who he was as a teacher, “He loved, accepted and respected his students equally, without prejudice, and modeled acceptance of different points of view”. Mr. Higgins made learning enjoyable. Economics was not my favorite subject by any means, but he had a way of getting students to understand the subject matter by simplifying it. His infectious personality lit up the classroom and the halls of GHS.
    To the Higgins family, my sincerest condolences to you all. You all had a very special husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and uncle. He was one of my favorite teachers ever, even 21 years later. May the great memories of Mr. Higgins be remembered for generations to come. May the gentle, healing hands of our God be placed around your hearts, bringing you peace and comfort during this difficult season. You all will be kept in my thoughts and prayers.

  • I will miss this man! One of the few teachers I had that I could also call “friend.” I always just called him Higgins cause my dad was such a fan of the show Magnum PI when I was a kid. I’m sure he was the only other person in the class who got why I just called him by his last name. Years after graduating from Glasgow High, I would see him working security at the UD football games. He never forgot who I was. God bless Higgins…you were one of the good ones! Thank you for your teachings and thank you for your friendship!

  • Mr. Higgins, you will surely be missed. Your vibrant smile and your shining personality was so infectious. I never had you as a teacher but my family, friends and my husband loved having met you as a teacher, wrestling enthusiast, or a teacher’s assistant. You were at our wedding and we’ve kept in touch via Christmas cards. We have loved keeping you in our lives for the past 15+ years.
    Mrs. Higgins, our thoughts and prayers are with you. The void of having Mr. Higgins in your life everyday will be deep. You are surrounded by love and support as you are as loved as he was.
    Rest In Peace Mr. Higgins

  • He’s going to make the best angel because he had all that experience on earth. Proud to have known him from Dickinson and family. Sincere condolences to Arleen and family. Wishing you all peace and strength. Love, Molly

  • Mr. Ray was a very nice and gentle person to work for. He will really be missed. I am so sorry for his passing. My condolences Miss Arlene and your family.

  • So sorry to hear of Ray´s passing. I went to school with Chris and Bob at Newark High School in the early 1980s. I spent some time at their house where I met Ray and Arleen. They were so welcoming and kind. I loved being around their family. Ray was such a pistol! So upbeat and enthusiastic. The photo of him in the newspaper today is exactly as I remember him – big smile on his face all the time! My condolences to Arleen, Chris and Bob. Peace and love
    Amy C.
    July 27, 2021

  • Arleen, and family, so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

  • This Obituary describes him perfectly! He was a unique
    and amazing man! One that made a difference in soooo many lives. He will be missed but will live on in the hearts and minds of all who knew him.

  • Best uncle a nephew could have! Love to all! Jimmy

  • Rip mr higgins. One of my favs at ghigh….u were the man!

  • Mr. Higgins you were a wonderful person. A bright light, a wonderful teacher and a motivator. You were my favorite teacher. It was a pleasure knowing you.

  • My family sends condolences to the Higgins family. Your in our prayers …

    Albert Lanouette and family

  • Arleen, sending my sincere sympathy to you and all the family. Glad that you shared many years together. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Arleen & Family,
    I was saddened to hear of Ray’s passing, leaving a huge loss in your lives. Please know that I am keeping you and yours in my heart and prayers. My sincerest sympathy.

  • Mr Higgins was an extraordinary man who inspired so many people. He was a a amazing teacher and a family friend. I enjoy the time I known him in school (G-high)and family gatherings. He always made me laugh and was so passionate about making a difference in his students lives. My deepest condolences go out to the Higgins family. No words can express what you and your family are going through. So sorry for your loss Arleen. Love you guys. I am here if you need anything.

  • Arlene I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Ray. The world lost one hell of a man! He was always so kind and my kids sure loved him as their teacher. I am praying for you and the family. Love You, Gwen

  • My condolences to the Higgins family. I knew Ray from my wrestling and coaching years at Newark High School. I will always remember his calm but competitive nature as Glasgow’s wrestling coach. So sorry for your loss.

  • I would like to wish my condolences to the family of Ray Higgins. He was a special person and will be deeply missed. No words can express what your family is going through.

  • So sorry to hear of Mr. Higgins’ passing. I went to NHS with Chris in the early 1980s. I. The photo of him is exactly how I remember Mr. Higgins after school during Chris’ wrestling matches. My condolences to you and your family at this time of loss.

  • He was one of my favorite teachers ever, I am very sorry for your family’s loss.

  • RIP mr. Higgins thank you for the fun memories I had with you as my wrestling coach. You Were more than coach . You were also a father to All the guys that you coached. I can still hear you saying sit out spin sit out spin get up Escape. You may have left this world but you will never leave are memories. Thank you Mr Higgins until we meet again.

  • To the HIggins family so sorry for your loss.. He was thw best wrestling coach i have come across class of 86

  • My sincere condolences to Arleen, Jill, Cindy, Chris and the entire family. Ray was my teacher in 1972-73 at Dickinson High and was very influential for me in accepting others, keeping an open mind, and sharing the joy of living. I hold a very grateful place in my heart for knowing Ray in my life. I extend heartfelt sympathy for all in his family and hope that peace will be felt along with the loss.

  • Mr. Higgins was one of the most genuine educators I had at Glasgow High School. He was an ace at forming positive relationships with students. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends. He was truly a great man who cared about his students both inside and outside his classroom walls.

  • 100% class act, Great person, teacher, & coach! RIP Coach you will be missed!

  • Ray was a role model for me as a stepped into the world of public education at Glasgow. His dedication to his students in the classroom and on the mat was unsurpassed. We worked together in the teacher’s union to make working conditions better for our teachers and to improve the educational opportunities for the students in the Christina School District. It was an honor to teach with him.

  • Arlene we are so sorry to learn of Ray’s passing. He played a huge role in our sons lives, not only as a teacher but most importantly as their Coach.He was always an uplifting person to be around, particularly with his infectious smile. He will be missed by all those whose lives he touched and there were many.

  • Very Sad. Ray was a truly great human being. Was a privileged to know him.
    My condolences to the family.
    Coach Walker

  • Mr Higgins had a tremendous impact on my life. He was an inspirational mentor and motivated me to be the best person I could be just by sharing his positive attitude. The greatest reward was his giant radiant smile. He will be sorely missed. My heart aches for Mrs Higgins (Beautiful Arlene)and the entire world of family and friends that this great man touched. God bless.

  • Dear Arleen, both Bill and I were so sorry to hear about Ray’s passing. Ray was one of the kindest and gentle man I have ever known. Sending love and prayers to you and your whole family. Love, Diane & Bill

  • What I remember first about Ray was his smile and an unbelievable positive can do attitude. He was always full of life and his ideas were sometimes outside the box like the time he brought a Aerobic Instructor into wrestling practice in 1983…..He was ahead of his time.
    I was lucky to share life with him and his family. It helped form who I am today.
    Deepest sympathies to all his family.

  • Mr. Higgins was my Economics teacher at Glasgow. He was such a kind man. So patient with us and always smiled so easily.

  • Mr. Higgins,although I never had u as a teacher, I do recall me giving you a hard time in the halls. My you rest in peace and may the lord hold u in the palms of his hands. 🙏

  • Many blessings, peace and love to the Higgins family. Mr. Higgins was a favorite at Glasgow. I had one class with him, an elective if I recall correctly. I do remember he was very kind, and one of the many teachers at Glasgow that made my four years there not only tolerable, but memorably enjoyable. Rest is peace, dear man.

  • My condolences to the family. Mr. Higgins you were a great man and left a lasting impact on many. RIP

    Keith Truitt

  • Mr. Higgins was an amazing and inspiring educator. Any of us who had him should consider ourselves blessed.

  • I lived next door for many years before college (back in the 80s and early 90s) and loved being able to play basketball on the Higgins hoop with my friends. I remember Ray as a kindly man who seemed to get a kick out of seeing the basketball hoop getting used and was easy to talk to the times I was able to. So sorry for your loss

  • Arleen, Sorry to hear of Ray’s passing.
    My deepest sympathies to you and the family.

  • Mr. Higgins was an educator like no other. He was a patient man, genuinely inspiring and interested in our success; qualities any instructor sound aspire to have.
    GHS ’94

  • Mr. Higgins was my economics teacher at Glasgow high school. He was, hands down, one of my favorite teachers. He was always so cheerful and excited to teach. RIP.

  • Mr.Higgins 9th grade civics class at Oak Grove was my all time favorite class, I think around 1964. His voice is in my head, particularly during these political times. Such an impact. Everyone loved Mr. Higgins. So very sorry for your loss and my condolences to your family. His picture is exactly how I remember him, that smile greeted everyone walking into class.

  • I am so very sorry to hear of Mr. Higgins passing. He was a wonderful teacher. I always loved going to his class. I learned so much from him. So sorry for your loss. Sending prayers to family, friends and all of the students who’s lives he impacted over the years. GHigh c/o 89 ❤💛

  • Mr. Higgins was one of the three most important people in my life (after my parents). He opened my mind, which opened doors. He thrived in ideas, opinions, thoughts, and knowledge. He was a mentoring example. He was encouraging, challenging, caring and kind. Unique, positive, and he gave us a life that was important. Rest In Peace, Mr. Higgins.

  • Ray Higgins made high school bearable! He was one of my all time favorite teachers. His humanities classes were thought provoking, always interesting and fun. He had a lot of respect for his students and took his job of providing us with a well-rounded education, encouraging us to become critical thinkers, very seriously. We were lucky to have him as our teacher.

  • Hi Mr. Higgins, I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to write you. I’m not a person who likes to think of death or surround myself with it, so it’s taken me a while to accept you are really gone. You were one of the three teachers who had the greatest impact on my school life and I kick myself for not trying to reach out to you while you were around let you know this face to face. Especially since we both lived in Newark. I kind of lost touch with my roots after being stationed in Asia for about 12 years of my career. I think the last time I bumped into you was actually at the TGI Friday’s, I didn’t have a chance to talk more as I was meeting with my leader’s leader and had traveled back from Asia. in those years I was working even more out of control then I normally did, what can you say, I love to work and help others. I only hope that I can have a positive impact on others like you had a positive impact on me. Rest in Peace.