One Of The Last Remaining Pearl Harbor Survivors Dead At 102

By Victor Winston, updated on March 21, 2024

The last echoes of a generation that faced the harrowing dawn of World War II are slowly falling silent with the passing of heroes like Richard "Dick" Clyde Higgins.

At 102 years old, Richard “Dick” Clyde Higgins, a revered survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack and a pioneering aeronautics engineer, has passed away in Oregon, closing a chapter on a remarkable life of service and innovation, Breitbart reported.

Born on July 24, 1921, in Mangum, Oklahoma, Higgins' life was a testament to the enduring spirit of those who served in one of history's darkest times. His service as a Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, particularly during the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese military, marked the beginning of an illustrious career dedicated both to his country and to the advancements in aeronautics engineering that followed his military tenure.

Following his naval service, Higgins embarked on a significant career in aeronautics, contributing to the safety and efficiency of air travel and defense technologies. His time with Northrop Corporation and several other defense contractors saw him involved in groundbreaking projects that further highlighted his commitment to his nation's progress in peace as much as in war.

Higgins' granddaughter, Angela Norton, talked about her reflections on his life and legacy:

Gramps went home to be with Jesus this morning. He was a humble, generous, funny, and loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend. This community has celebrated and honored him, and we are forever grateful for the impact he has made on all of us. At 102 years old, we have lost a precious part of history but because he believed in Jesus we know that this is not the end. We can’t wait to see you again. Always and forever, we love you, Gramps.

Heroes Among Us: Remembering Their Contributions

Higgins' story is one of many, a single thread in the rich tapestry of those who served and sacrificed during World War II. His experiences highlight the immediate responses and bravery required during such critical times and how each person carried forward that spirit into their post-war lives.

Notably, Higgins was among the few who lived to recount the harrowing experiences of combat and survival, providing a firsthand account of the Pearl Harbor attack that marked a pivotal moment in American history.

It is a poignant reminder of the passage of time and the importance of remembering and honoring the stories of those who lived through events that shaped the world. Higgins’ death emphasizes the dwindling number of World War II veterans and survivors, with only 22 known survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack remaining. His life, service, and post-military career serve as a beacon of the enduring legacy of that generation.

In the city of Bend, Oregon, Higgins was a respected community member and an honored veteran. His recognition during a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony, where the city council declared a "Dick Higgins Day," reflects the deep gratitude and respect owed to those who have served. Such gestures, while symbolic, represent a broader acknowledgment of the sacrifices made by veterans like Higgins and the importance of keeping their memories and stories alive for future generations.

The Price of Peace: A Legacy Beyond Battle

Higgins' journey from the chaos of war to the tranquility of peacetime innovation in aeronautics serves as a powerful narrative of transformation. His ability to pivot from military service to a career that continued to serve his country in a different capacity showcases veterans' multifaceted contributions to society.

The loss of his wife, Winnie Ruth McDonald Higgins, after 60 years of marriage, and his later years battling Alzheimer’s disease, cared for by his loving granddaughter, highlight the personal sacrifices that underscored his life of service.

In summary, Richard “Dick” Clyde Higgins' passing marks the end of an era, a poignant reminder of the rapidly disappearing voices of a generation that fought not only for the survival of their countries but for the values that would define the modern world. His life of service, both in uniform and in his contributions to aeronautics, along with his role as a beloved family patriarch, underscores the lasting legacy of a generation that endured the crucible of war and emerged to build a future founded on peace and innovation.

As we lose these living connections to pivotal moments in history, their stories, like Higgins', ensure that the lessons and legacies of the past remain alive, guiding future generations toward a world of understanding, innovation, and peace.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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