Bruce was a devoted family man who never missed a function or family get-together, according to his dad, Bob. Bruce filled the role of son, father and husband well. He also was a friend to many in this county and as well as surrounding counties.
I want to share a couple of stories about Bruce that demonstrate his generosity, which was another of his many good traits. Bruce always supported our athletic teams at Trigg County High School. He was a charter member of the Wildcat Century Club and joined every year after that first one. Bruce was the kind of man who would help a kid who didn’t have enough money for his shoes or was short on the money needed to attend summer camp.
Trigg County Middle School teacher Tina Davis called me over the weekend and said she had a story she wanted to share about Bruce. She said, “When we first started the volleyball teams here, we were just trying to get our feet under us. In year two of our program, we had a game with heavily favored Ft. Campbell coming up. I promised our girls I would take them to O’Charleys if they won. Well wouldn’t you know it? We pulled off the upset. I followed through on my promise and took them to O’Charleys. I sort of grimaced as I asked for the ticket so I could pay the rather large bill. To my surprise, the man said it was already taken care of. You see, Bruce’s daughter Laura was on the team. Bruce had already paid the bill in full.”
Stories of Bruce’s quiet generosity could go on and on. I found out that just last year Bruce learned that a family in Trigg County didn’t have the money to have Christmas. He simply gave the money to provide their Christmas without any fanfare about it.
I want to take a timeout here to tell a story about Bruce’s possible mischievous side. Bruce once told me a story about how he and another fellow had both caught eight-pound bass out of the little pond coming off of Little River down at West Cadiz Park. He emphasized that he let them go so they had to still be in there. He loved to tell me that story. I’ll never know till I meet Bruce on the other side whether he was pulling my leg or not. I think he had a hunch that I would go down to the park and make a few casts trying to catch the monster bass of Little River. I must confess that after three trips to the park, I now call them the Mythic Monster Bass of Little River. I know Bruce is smiling at that one.
As I close up this trilogy of columns on Bruce Higbee, I want to discuss the most important subject of all. That would be Bruce’s faith. Bruce was a staple of the Cadiz Baptist Choir. For decades, Bruce served his church in many ways, including being a deacon, Sunday School director and choir member. Bruce was probably best known in the church for his singing. Bruce sang at countless weddings and funerals. He beautiful bass voice filled the church with many solos over the years. The thing about Bruce’s singing was this. It wasn’t just the quality of his voice. It was the conviction and passion that he sang with.
This past winter, Bruce was scheduled to have surgery to remove his bladder due to a cancerous tumor being found there. He was very sick. Surgery was scheduled for a Monday morning. Bruce was to sing two songs the Sunday night before his surgery. On that Sunday morning, Bruce was too sick to even come to church. Disregarding his pain and suffering, Bruce invited all of his many Facebook friends to attend Cadiz Baptist that Sunday night to hear him sing. That night, many people who had never set foot in our church were in attendance. Somehow, Bruce summoned the strength to sing as beautifully as he ever had. His powerful singing was a testimony to his faith.
Fast forward to eight months later. Bruce had battled his illnesses with all he had for as long as he could. His pain and suffering ended as he passed. I attended Bruce’s funeral. To my surprise and delight, the soloist at Bruce’s funeral was none other than Bruce. Bruce’s voice rang out over the church as a tape of him singing those same two songs from months earlier was played.
At the very end of his life, Bruce Higbee’s faith in Jesus Christ rang out loud and clear. At the end, isn’t that what matters most?
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.