O'Dell Funeral Home


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Vivian Higgins
In Memory of
Vivian Lea
Higgins (Coon)
1957 - 2022
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Obituary for Vivian Lea Higgins (Coon)

Vivian Lea  Higgins (Coon)
Vivian Lea Coon Higgins, 65, of Montgomery, West Virginia, passed away peacefully at The Hubbard House on August 12, 2022. She had been bravely battling an aggressive form of cancer, cholangiocarcinoma, since February of this year.
Viv was born on August 7, 1957, to Kermit and Lolita Coon in Charleston, West Virginia. She spent her first years of childhood in “The Bottom” on the banks of the Elk River, and then grew up “across the swinging bridge” in Comfort, WV. She graduated from Sherman High School in 1975 and earned her bachelor’s degree in education from WV Tech in 1979. She then went on to earn her master’s degree from Marshall University. Vivian taught as a teacher for 36 years total in Boone and Fayette Counties. Her true passion was special education, which she taught for the better part of her career. There was truly nobody who cared more for her students, or who had more patience and a gentle soul with the right amount of bossiness. Rather than retiring early, she worked until the day her family forced her from her classroom to get herself checked out at CAMC. If this does not illustrate her passion and love for her career and students, we are not sure anything else could.
Viv also loved her family more than anything. She met her husband, Thomas Kerr Higgins, in Boone County in the early 1980s. An avid (and FAST) distance runner, Vivian would run the roads each day, training for her next big race. Tom, or “Fox,” as his call sign was, would pass Viv each day as he drove his coal truck all over Boone County. They would wave at each other as they passed, but it took Tom some time to really get the courage to ask her out. He says he just knew she was it. On their first date, Tom wore a truly ugly pair of green and white striped pants—pants SO ugly, in fact, that Viv walked “far enough away so nobody would assume she was with him, but close enough so his feelings wouldn’t be hurt.” His personality overcame the poor fashion choices, and they married on June 28, 1986, at Comfort Presbyterian Church. Tom never found those pants again after Viv moved into their home in Montgomery, WV, and swiftly threw them out. Tom and Viv lived on 6th Avenue in Montgomery, first in “the blue house,” and then later moving across the street into Tom’s parents’ renovated river-front home. She enjoyed tending to her garden by the river with neighbor Linda, kayaking with her dear friends Jean and David Cavalier, and still running many miles a day.
Vivian had two daughters, whom she was very proud of, and were the only thing that could lure her from teaching full time. For ten years, Viv worked part time as a substitute teacher in order to spend more time with her daughters, Catherine and Kelsey. This was precious time well-spent. She carted them to ballet, gymnastics, swim, track, and cross country meets over the years, and instilled a strong work ethic in them. She sat up at night quizzing Cat to prepare for tests and helped Kelsey with countless projects over the years. Viv and Tom scraped and sacrificed financially to send Cat and Kelsey to Charleston Catholic High School, a decision that both daughters contend was one of the best choices for their future. Vivian cheered proudly each time her daughters graduated- through bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctorates. She instilled in her daughters the importance of education and independence; they both ensured they could support themselves on their own before diving into a marriage. Vivian did get to see both daughters (finally) marry men who could handle and celebrate the independent women she raised, and she was so thrilled by this.
It’s impossible to fit 65 well-lived years into just a few paragraphs, and the unfairness of a life cut short is stifling. The better illustration of her life is seen through the huge network of family and friends who carry on her legacy; you can see her impact, humor, and love through all of us. Vivian is survived by her husband, Thomas Kerr Higgins of Montgomery, oldest daughter Catherine Brooke Higgins Misorski and husband Matt of Pittsburgh, PA, youngest daughter Kelsey Leigh Higgins Copolo and husband Cory of Charleston, WV, Mother Lolita Hunter Coon of Comfort, WV, brother Paul Coon of Hernshaw, WV, sister Pamela Coon Cantley, of Bixby, OK, and sister Melinda Coon Fitzwater of Calhoun County, WV, as well as many nieces, nephews, and dear friends. She is preceded in death by her father, Kermit Coon, brother Warren Coon, and Aunt Sylvia Coon Turner.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday August 17th at St. Anthony’s Shrine Catholic Church in Boomer, WV, from 6-8 pm. Her service will be on Thursday, August 18th at St. Anthony’s at 11 am. with Fr. Dominick Boak officiating. In lieu of flowers (Tom has allergies, and the pollen makes him sniffle), we ask that you donate in her honor to The Hubbard Hospice House in Charleston, WV. You can easily donate on their website: https://www.hospicecarewv.org/locations/hubbard-hospice-house/.
Viv and her family would also like to extend thanks to her exceptional care team at the Hubbard House, to Dr. Michael Elmore and Dr. Lin Mei of CAMC, Dr. Ravi Paluri, Dr. Benjamin Rush, and Dr. Marie Cavalier Rush of Wake Forest Baptist Health, and Dr. Michael Covelli. Your experience, dedication, exceptional staff, and wonderful bedside manner made this journey a little easier on us all.
O’Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery is in charge of arrangements. Expressions of sympathy can be sent to the family at www.odellfuneralhome.com
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