Chief William Emerson Higgins of Salisbury passed away on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional. Born in Seaford, he was the son of the late Emerson G. Higgins and Sarah Elizabeth Graham Higgins.
Bill, also known as “Pinky,” was a 1956 graduate of Seaford High School. He earned his nickname from wearing pink socks in high school.
In 1959 Bill was appointed as a police officer with the Seaford Police Department. He retired in 1980 as a Lieutenant after 21 years of service. He also served as Chief of the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department. In 1980, he was appointed Deputy Chief of the City of Salisbury Fire Department and served in that position until 1992 at which time he was selected to be the Fire Chief. In 2000, he retired and worked part time with the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office in Court Security. He was involved with leadership and administrative duties at Salisbury Fire Station No. 2 up to the time of his death.
Bill graduated from the FBI National Academy, 93rd Class, and also from the Delaware State Police Academy. He was recognized by the Seaford Jaycee’s 1964 “Outstanding Young Man of the Year”. He was past president of the Delaware Chiefs of Police, past president of Sussex County Fire Chiefs, and was past president of the Delaware State Fire Chiefs, in which he led the statewide effort to install the 911 system. He was inducted into the Delaware State Firemen’s Hall of Fame, the Delmarva Firemen’s Hall of Fame, and the Firemen’s Historical Hall of Fame. He was a 32nd Degree Mason with Hiram Lodge #21 in Seaford for the past 55 years. He also served as past President and Board Member of several Pots Nets Communities in Long Neck.
Chief Higgins was also a member of the Delmarva Gospel Music Association and spent the later years of his life attending many Delmarva Gospel sings and Carey’s Church Camp in Millsboro. He was a proud “member-owner” of Delaware Electric Cooperative and developed a camaraderie with the DEC electric lineman crews in the Long Neck area.
Bill is survived by four nephews, Jack Dennis Jester (Kay) of Salisbury, Leroy Brewington (Ann) of Delmar, Del., Kerry Lee Wilber of ME, and Kim David Wilber of Pa.; three nieces, Cindy Anderson (Greg) of Bethel, Twyla Marshall of Milford, and Kelli VanHorn of FL; and numerous great and great-great nieces, nephews and cousins. He also counted as family the many fire department, police, and public service families in Salisbury and Seaford, as well as fire service acquaintances in France and Turkey.
In addition to his parents, William was preceded in death by two sisters, Phyllis Higgins Brewington and Ruth Higgins Wilber; and a niece, Beth Jester.
A firefighter’s funeral service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 at 11 a.m. at the Emmanuel Wesleyan Church in Salisbury with his nephew, Rev. Jack Jester officiating. There will be a visitation on Saturday at the church from 9:30–11 a.m. There will also be a visitation Friday evening from 6–8 p.m. at the Holloway Funeral Home in Salisbury. Following the Saturday services at church, interment will be held at Odd Fellows Cemetery in Seaford with the Hiram Masonic Lodge and the Salisbury and Seaford Fire Departments honoring Chief Higgins.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the Salisbury and or Seaford Fire Departments.
Arrangements are in the care of Holloway Funeral Home, PA, 501 Snow Hill Road, Salisbury, MD 21804. Please visit www.hollowayfh.com to express condolences to the family.