Donald Dean Higinbotham

Donald Dean Higinbotham

Donald Dean Higinbotham

November 7, 1922 - August 15, 2010

Donald Dean Higinbotham was born in Central Point, Ore., to Oscar and Mildred (Patton) Higinbotham, and passed away in Grants Pass, Ore., just 84 days before his 88th birthday. Dean was from a long line of early pioneers to southern oregon including the Higinbotham, Patton, McKee, and Edmondson families.

Dean's early education included schools in Central Point, Butte Falls, Prospect, Malin, Klamath Falls, Medford, and Sedro Wooley, Washington.

During his high school years in Medford, Dean worked at Bigelow's fountain as a "soda jerk" and later delivered telegrams all over the Medford area on his Schwinn bicycle for the Postal Telegraph Company. He graduated from Medford High in 1940.

After some post graduate studies at Sacramento Junior College, Dean went to work for Lockheed Aircraft Company in Long Beach, Calif. Shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dean enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force. After cadet training and extensive automatic pilot and glide bombing instruction, he became the B29 auto pilot and Norden bombsite administrator for Army air fields at Clovis, N.M., Amarillo, Texas and Albuquerque, N.M., overseeing the maintenance and issue of the Norden bombsite for the Air Force fleet of B29 bombers.

Dean graduated from Oregon State College in June 1950, with a bachelor of science degree in forestry. Immediately, on June 14, 1950, he went to work for the Weyerhaeuser Company at the Coos Bay branch, where he was in charge of fire control, reforestation, forest management and ultimately as area raw materials manager. He held a restricted radio telephone permit issued by the Federal Communications Commission and served as a Coos County Deputy Sheriff. He is a past chairman of the Colombia River section of the Society of American Foresters, past president of the Coos chapter of the Issac Walton League, a member of the Coos Bay Methodist Church, a former Toastmaster, and for many years, active in the Coos County United Good Neighbors campaign.

In 1967, Dean transfered to the Weyerhaeuser corporate headquarters in Tacoma, Wash., retiring at the end of 1977, as a vice president of the company.

After retirement, Dean returned to southern Oregon to live out his life in Grants Pass. Here, Dean became a consultant for the Josephine County forestry department, helping direct their timber sales and reforestation program.

During his last 32 years, Dean spent an enormous amount of time researching and documenting the geneology of his ancestors and many other of the pioneer families of sougthern Oregon, even confirming the Roxy Ann (the butte) was named for his great-great-grandmother. He produced and presented geneology books to all members of his immediate family and at least 10 volumes to the Southern Oregon Historical Society. Dean had become one of the most thorough and reliable sources of geneological information and perhaps the foremost authority on geneology in southern Oregon.

Dean was a lifetime member of Blanco Lodge of Coos Bay and Grants Pass Masonic Lodge AF & AM. He was also a life member of York Rite Bodies Reemers chapter #28 Royal Arch Masons, Rogue Council #23 Cryptic Masons, Melita Commandry #8 and also a member of Hillah Shrine Temple.

Dean's closest surviving relatives include first cousins Marcia Skinner, of Medford, Lowell Patton, of Lake Oswego, Keith Stucky, of Beaverton, Sally (Higinbotham) Burns, of Central Point, and Allan Higinbotham, of Ontario, Ore.

There will be a memorial service 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, August 24, 2010, at Hull & Hull Funeral Directors, 612 NW A St., Grants Pass, OR 97528. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to OSU Foundation ( or Southern Oregon Historical Society (

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