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James E. Higgins Sr., 87

James (Jim) E. Higgins, Sr. 87, of Woodstock, died peacefully Thursday Nov. 24, 2022, at JourneyCare inpatient unit in Barrington.

Jim was born in Chicago on Oct. 13, 1935. After graduating from St. Rita High School, the class of 1953, he joined the U.S. Navy, where he trained as an aircraft mechanic. While in the Navy, he married Dorothea “Dotty” Nastro on Sept. 11, 1965.

After that, they traveled the world together, including being stationed in Naples Italy. Jim served a total of 20 years with the Navy and retired in 1973. 

At the time of his retirement, he was serving with the Hurricane Hunters in Florida, and when he met someone new, he always told them, “Yes I did fly through a hurricane.” After his Naval career, he returned to Illinois and worked for Illinois Central Railroad as a mechanic. He enjoyed working with model railroad, and was known to say he “worked on the big ones and played with the little ones.” He was an avid sports fan and especially enjoyed watching the Chicago White Sox. He was loved and will be missed.

He is survived by a son, James Higgins Jr.; two daughters, Dawn (Nate) Compton and Angela (Ray) Thuma; a grandson, Ben Thuma; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Dotty; a grandson, Kyle Byrne; and his siblings Michael, John, Alice, and Pat.

A private entombment will be at University Park Ill.

A celebration of his life will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Woodstock on Jan. 7, 2023. Family and friends will visit with one another starting at 10 a.m., and the celebration of life will begin at 11 a.m. with a meal to follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Fleet Reserve Association, Veterans Service Fund.

For information, call the Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home at 815-338-1710 or see the website at

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