Village News - Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Donald William Higbee


Last updated 8/16/2019 at 7:08am

On July 31, 2019, Donald William Higbee, loving husband and father of four, entered eternal life at the age of 88 in Fallbrook, California.

Don was born Jan. 7, 1931, in Ada, Oklahoma, the youngest child of James and Nannie (Driver) Higbee. In 1937 during the Dust Bowl, his family moved to Pixley, California, north of Bakersfield, where Don attended elementary school.

He joined the U.S. Army in 1946 at the age of 15 and served a year and a half as a "radio man" in Europe, primarily Allied-occupied Germany. He then attended high school in Fallbrook. He lived with his parents on Red Mountain Ranch, where his father worked, and later with his sister, Faleta (George) Saunders.

He graduated from Fallbrook Union High School in 1949. He was an adventurer; he hitchhiked across the U.S. with a friend at age 14 and spent a summer in high school exploring Mexico with Allen Inhelder.

After the start of the Korean War, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1950, bypassing boot camp due to his prior Army service. He was eventually joined in Korea by his lifelong friends Carl Lett, Allen Inhelder and Howard McKay. He participated in the seizure of Inchon and the Wonson-Hungnam campaign shortly thereafter. He was shot twice in November 1950, which earned him a Purple Heart and Presidential Citation.

After rehabilitation in Japan, he spent time in San Diego for reconstructive surgery before being honorably discharged as a Sergeant. He then returned to Fallbrook and attended Palomar College, while also working as a butcher at the Corner Store and on an avocado and citrus ranch in Bonsall.

It was during this period that Don began to date his future wife, Joan M. Diamond. He was later accepted to the University of Southern California, where he was a proud member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and maintained a job as a teller at Bank of America. While attending USC, he married Joan on Valentine's Day. Soon after, his two eldest sons, Bradley and Carter, were born.

After graduating cum laude in 1957 with a B.A. in history, he worked at Pacific Press before beginning his nearly lifelong career at Interstate Electronics, where his specialty was negotiating defense contracts with the CIA and U.S. Department of Defense.

He entered the USC School of Law in 1958, during which time he continued to work full time and his son Phillip and youngest child Lisa were born. He received a Juris Doctor degree in 1962. He was admitted as an attorney to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States June 2, 1969. Don was a proud member of the Fallbrook Masonic Lodge #317.

Following periods in Anaheim, Salt Lake City and Silverado Canyon, he returned to Fallbrook with his family in 1970 to run for district judge, narrowly losing to the incumbent. He and Joan continued to live in Fallbrook until his passing. He retired from Interstate Electronics in 1986 as Executive Vice President and Corporate Secretary (after commuting from Fallbrook to Anaheim for 17 years!), then pursued various business interests in retirement.

He and Joan purchased La Playa Marina & Resort in Lakeside, Oregon, where they spent summers entertaining family and friends in grand style. He was also an avid stock market trader.

Don was preceded in death by his son Carter in 2003, his parents James and Nannie, his brother Jim, his sisters Christine, Lorraine, Opal, and Faleta, and his dear friends Louie Parker, Bob Kruis, and numerous others.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Joan, and his children Bradley (Sharon) Higbee of Sun City West, Arizona, Phillip (Nancy) Higbee of Mission Viejo, California, Lisa (Greg) Boylan of Fallbrook, as well as his daughter-in-law, Angel Higbee of Beaverton, Oregon, seven grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

His grandson Donovan best expressed the feelings that are shared by all who knew him: "I'll never know a man with more integrity, wisdom, and selflessness than my grandfather. Throughout his entire life, he always put others first – his family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, nation, and a people he never knew on the other side of the world. And for the past few months, although he was no longer able to say or understand much, he still always found the words to say, 'I love you too.' And I know he really meant it. I knew it then, I knew it from the day I was born, and I will know it for the rest of my life. We all will."

A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, at the Grand Tradition Estate & Gardens, 220 Grand Tradition Way, Fallbrook, CA 92028.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to VFW Post 1924 ( or the USC Alzheimer's Therapeutic Research Institute (

His ashes will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Please feel free to visit to sign the guestbook.


Reader Comments


Our Family of Publications Includes:

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019