Dorothy E. “Dottie” Higgins

Dorothy E. “Dottie” Higgins

September 27, 1927 – March 12, 2022

Dottie Waters Higgins was born in Wiota, Iowa on September 27, 1927 to Jim and Zella Waters. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gene Higgins; parents; siblings: Russ, Pat, and Berniece Heider; sons, Dan and Jeff Higgins. Dottie is survived by her brother, Dr. Paul Waters (Suzanne); dear friend, Carl Nethers; her daughter, Mary Higgins (Patrick Kennison); daughter-in-law, Lora Higgins; grandchildren: Dewey Kennison (Molly), Julie Kennison Schaefer (Joe), Tricia Higgins Hultgren (Jeff), and Kristin Higgins Kies (Darren). She was blessed with eight great-grandchildren, four boys and four girls: Margaret and Kate Kennison, Annie and Nora Schaefer, Grant and Luke Hultgren, and Parker and Hunter Kies.

VISITATION:  Friday, March 18th from 9am to 10am at St. John Catholic Church on the Creighton University campus, 2500 California Plaza,  followed by Funeral Mass at 10am.  To view a live broadcast of the Mass, please go to and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.

In lieu of flowers, please direct memorials to Marian High School Scholarship Fund.


Dottie Higgins, “Grandma Dot”

Dottie grew up on a farm, attending country school and Atlantic High School.  She always considered herself to be a “farm girl” which was expressed through her love of gardening.

She started her current family’s deep connection to Creighton University by studying at the “Hilltop” for two years.  Family legend has it that she was dropped off on the steps of the Administration Building (now Creighton Hall) by her dad who was driving a truck full of livestock to the stockyards.  She was instructed to go to the Admissions Office to see if she could get accepted!

After two years of college, she took a job at Mutual of Omaha where she met Gene Higgins (a Creighton graduate!).  They married in 1949 and lived in Annie Finn’s rooming house. Mary was born in 1951 followed by Dan in 1953 and Jeff in 1955. They built their first house on 65th Avenue just one block from St. Bernard’s where they were very active in parish and school life. All three kids attended Marian for kindergarten and then St. Bernard’s.

In 1965 they built their second house in Keystone, close to Marian where Mary attended high school. Woefully, her brothers could not join her there!

In the ‘60s Dottie went back to school at UNO, finishing her undergraduate degree in elementary education and then proceeding to earn two master’s degrees as well. She was smart, determined, and feisty! Gene and Dottie always prioritized education. Gene, a chemistry major, often said he would have gone to medical school but could not afford to do so. That line runs deep as all three granddaughters became doctors! Dewey, the one grandson, balanced the group by becoming a lawyer.

In the ‘70s Dottie taught second grade at Brownell-Talbot, eventually becoming head of the lower school. She also taught in the Ralston school district as a reading specialist.

Dottie and Gene traveled extensively through Mutual of Omaha business trips as well as personally with good friends. Destinations included several trips to Europe, the Holy Land, Bermuda and more.

In the mid ‘90s they built their third home in west Omaha, closer to where the grandchildren lived.

Dottie was a masters-level bridge player and exceptionally competitive at the game! She also enjoyed playing golf (had two holes in one), quilting, sewing, and taking family vacations to Minnesota.

She suffered a stroke on June 3, 2015 which initiated challenging health issues. We are exceptionally grateful to the professional and caring staffs of Pacific Springs and Lakeside Memory Support units who provided wonderful assistance to Dottie over the past few years. They, along with Carl, were her guardian angels!



  • Kelly Thole Posted March 15, 2022 7:26 am

    Dearest Mary & family,
    What a glorious life your dear mother shared with all of us.
    I so enjoyed her vivacious personality on our Winnie/Vinnie (St. Wenceslaus/St..Vincent) golf league in the 90’s. I also had the honor of working with Dottie on the Arts & Environment committee when we built St. Vincent’s. Specifically, the gold gilded spires above the altar are a legacy of her helping hands.
    Dotttie sprinkled blessings to us like “happiness confetti”. Always an exemplary soul of kindness.
    Amen God. She was one of your best..

  • Elizabeth Easley Posted March 16, 2022 12:00 pm

    My sincerest condolences to Mary and family. The Higgins family has had a connection with the Laughlin family for many years….
    My Dad, Ed, worked with Gene as colleagues for years, and always spoke highly of Gene and Dottie!

    Dottie generously donated her time to St. Pius-St Leo’s School to teach a Bridge Class to 6th graders. Embarrassedly, I took her course along with the 6th graders, and never could grasp the gift of Bridge:)!

    I’ve deeply appreciated knowing Mary as Marian students and throughout subsequent years! May dear Dottie rest peacefully in God’s loving arms surrounded by Gene and those who preceded her in death!

    Liz Laughlin Easley

  • Jamie & Brian Waters & James Posted March 16, 2022 5:39 pm

    We have very fond memories of Dottie mainly because she made us feel so welcome during our time in Omaha and at Creighton. She was loving, generous and always included us at family gatherings and made sure we had full plates! Her bright fun spirit will have a special place in our hearts. Our deepest condolences to you all, Love Brian Jamie & James

Sign Guestbook

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *