On Tuesday, October 16, 2018, Mary Estelle Thomas Higgins “Sweets” passed at her home in Rockville, Maryland. Mary was born on January 12, 1929 to the late Gertrude Beatrice Hill and Thomas Edgar Thomas in Ashton, Maryland. Raised in a Christian home, Mary accepted Christ into her life at a very early age. She was a devout member of Jerusalem United Methodist Church in Rockville, Maryland.
Graduating from Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. in 1947, Mary continued her education at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. It was at Central State University where she met her future soulmate and husband, Seldon Douglas Higgins “Shake” “Sonny”. Mary and Seldon married on February 5, 1949 and to this Union was born three children: Tyrone Doug las, Constance Charmain, and Karen Rochelle. Tyrone and Karen preceded Mary in death.
Mary's career path took her in many different directions. She worked at National Security Agency (NSA) in Arlington Virginia, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Washington DC., Temple Sinai, and the Jewish Community Center, also in Washington D.C., before retiring from the Fund for Education Agency in 1994. In 1956, Mary started the Gracious Ladies Social Club with her best friend Ramona Davis and Helen Hoban. She was a member of the Squaws Social Club which actually started as a branch out of her daughters Girl Scout Troop, The Odd Couple (a Bid Whist Club), and Cover to Cover (a book club).
Mary's labor of love toward her husband "Shake," daughter Connie, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, other family members, friends, and neighbors was displayed generously in her everyday life. She shared her time, her home, money, meals, gifts, love, hugs and laughter with anyone and everyone she met. Affectionately known as "Sweets" but also known as "Red Top" to her immediate family (because of the color of her hair and her fiery personality to match), Mary met no strangers.
Traveling and shopping was high on Mary's "to do" list. In addition to trips to various locations across the United States, her stops included such places as Nassau, Bermuda, St. Thom as, Cancun, Acapulco, Grand Cayman, Puerto Rico, Montreal, and Toronto. She enjoyed lunch at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Trips to casinos with Ramona and cousin "Needy" (Juanita Hill) she always looked forward to. Along the way, Mary indulged in her passion-shopping for shoes, clothing, watches, and artwork mostly in her favorite colors of black and white.
Mary was the life of a party, a great dancer and loved family gatherings. Most of all she loved to LAUGH. If laughter was a cure -all - she would be with us today with that high-pitched laugh and working the room to make sure everybody was having a good time. Entertaining was her niche. Mary was always the last to leave, and to keep the party going, she would offer to cook breakfast for everyone and bring the party back to her home. Mary loved to cook, and her cuisine left friends and family wanting for more. Add a glass of her famous sweet tea, and you couldn't resist second helpings. If you were ever invited to their home around the holidays, you would know that Mary decorated their home for every holiday with Christmas being her favorite, and her over-the-top decorations on her two trees. The more people that stopped by, the brighter the sparkles were in Mary's eyes.
She leaves to celebrate her memory her husband of 69 years, Seldon (Shake) Higgins; daughter, Constance “Connie” Newsome; two grandsons, Douglas Higgins Newsome (Cesarina) and Bobby Dean Newsome Jr.; great-grandchildren, Douglas and Yasmine Newsome, Kevin and Issac Jimenez-Sanchez; sisters, Jean T Moore, Sarah Awkard, Gladys Nelson, and Patricia Thomas (Kevin); devoted cousins, Joyce Barnes and Juanita Hill (who was also Mary's caregiver and play sister); devoted nieces, Kathy Rae and Kym Awkard; devoted best friend of more than 60 years, Ramona Davis; god-daughters, Shirley Clark, Lynda-Anne Cash-Felix, and Beverly Mason Burton; and numerous other nieces, nephews, cousins, and fr iends.