Oxley-Heard Funeral Home has been serving the community since 1931.
James “Jim” Higginbotham

James “Jim” Higginbotham

April 14, 1944 - February 8, 2019     Age: 74

James Byron (Jim B.) Higginbotham was peacefully called to his heavenly home on Friday, February 8, 2019.  Jim was born in Fernandina Beach, FL on April 14, 1944. He grew up in Hilliard, FL and, as a young man, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  Jim was baptized at Hilliard Baptist Church.  At the time of his passing, he was a Fernandina Beach resident and active member of First Baptist Church of Fernandina Beach where he sang in the choir, while also singing bass in the men’s ensemble “A Few Good Men”.  He loved the Lord and his church family. He wanted to attend services even after he was unable to do so because of his declining health.

Jim graduated from Hilliard High School and was proud to play on the basketball team that brought home the State AA Basketball Championship in 1963. After graduating from Lake City Community College, where he continued to play basketball on an athletic scholarship, he enrolled in Middle Georgia State University in Warner Robbins, GA.

In 1966, he joined the United States Air Force and was a proud Veteran of the Vietnam War where he was stationed in the Philippines as an Aeronautical Mechanic.  After returning home from Vietnam, he went to work with Houdaille-Duval Wright Construction Company and was the Superintendent on the Downtown Fernandina Beach Centre Street redesign and building project. After completion, the City of Fernandina Beach offered him the position of Director of Public Works. He retired from that position after over 25 years of service.

He was a die-hard Georgia Bulldog Fan, loved to play golf, enjoyed riding his bike around the island, having late afternoon coffee with his buddies, indulging in chocolate, and of course his favorite… politics!

Like his father before him, he served three terms as a Nassau County Commissioner and was also elected as Chairman by his fellow Commissioners. He was a highly ethical, honest, kind, intelligent, generous, handsome, loving, outgoing (never met a stranger!), competitive, talented, loyal, adventurous, funny, man’s-man. He loved his family immensely and his favorite thing to do was to spend time with them. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

He leaves behind his wife, Carol L. Decker-Higginbotham of Amelia Island, FL; As well as his 3 beloved children: Son, Barry (Stacey) Higginbotham of  Yulee, FL; Daughter, Laran Phelps of Yulee, FL; Daughter, Erin (CJ) Eiras of Jacksonville, FL; Sister, Vivian Armstrong and Brother, Richard (Cathy) Higginbotham both of Hilliard, FL. Jim also leaves behind his 7 beloved grandchildren, Baleigh and Brennan Higginbotham, Ella and Amelia Phelps; As well as Severiano, Bianca and Maximus Eiras; and two stepsons, Steve and Mark Decker along with their families. He also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, close cousins, life-long friends, as well as the mother of his 3 children, Jan R. Spottswood of Jacksonville, FL. He was preceded in death by his parents, John B. and Wynelle Davis Higginbotham, brother Johnny, and Stepfather, Carl Wright as well as son-in-law, Neil Phelps.

A memorial service to celebrate Jim’s life and legacy will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 11:00 am at First Baptist Church on 8th St in Fernandina Beach, FL.

Please share your memories and condolences at www.oxleyheard.com

If so desired, donations may be made in Jim’s memory to Community Hospice of N.E. Florida, 4266 Sunbeam Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32257.

22 Condolences

  • Chris and Bill Bryan Posted February 8, 2019 8:34 am

    Prayers for the entire Higginbotham family. Jim will be missed by many. He has been an important part of Nassau County and we can thank him for all his accomplishments. Bless him and his family.

  • Tommy Tilman Posted February 8, 2019 11:30 am

    I am sorry to hear about the passing of Jim,. My thought and prayers go out to his family.
    A man not to be forgotten but remembered by his great past.

  • Mary Sikes Posted February 8, 2019 1:12 pm

    My thoughts and prayers go out to your family.

  • Rob Calija Posted February 8, 2019 4:02 pm

    Jim was a fun person to be around. I worked with him at the Y in Fernandina. Thank you Jim for sharing your life with me. You will be truly missed.

  • Jeff and Cheri Overton Posted February 8, 2019 9:22 pm

    Praying for Carol and the family. Jim was a good man and it was a joy to be his pastor for a short time. May God comfort the family at this time.

  • David and Carole White Posted February 8, 2019 9:41 pm

    Jim will be missed by all of us in Amelia Park. Our prayers and best wishes for Carol and the family.

  • Jeannie Sasser Posted February 8, 2019 9:49 pm

    My condolences and prayers for Jimmy’s family. I went to school in Hilliard with him and was one of those who welcomed home the Flashes Team that brought home the State AA Basketball Championship in 1963. We were friends forever and he will be missed.

  • Regina Dukes Posted February 8, 2019 10:32 pm

    Jimmy was a great cousin to me as a little girl. I loved him dearly..My deepest condolences to each of you in this great loss. My prayers are with each of you.

  • Lynelle Jackson Posted February 8, 2019 11:39 pm

    As a long time friend of Erin, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know Jim, who was so kind, gracious and giving of his time and knowledge. He always gave warm embraces and thoughtful words that made me feel like a member of his family….time and again. He will be missed by myself and I’m sure by all who have known and been touch by his love and presence. He was the embodiment of goodness and goodwill towards others. That is reflected in the gracious nature of his children. I am blessed to have known him, but also to have been blessed by the influence he had on his children, in particular Erin. I pray for all of his family and friends to find peace in HIS peace. Love and love

  • MARY PAUTSCH Posted February 9, 2019 2:49 am

    My deepest condolences to the entire Higginbotham family. I have you in my heart and my prayers.

  • Jo Musgrove Posted February 11, 2019 6:57 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with the family.
    Our paths cross many a time during his work with the county,.
    He will be missed.

  • Robert and Winette Odom Posted February 12, 2019 3:32 pm

    Jim was a kind man who was always willing to pitch in to help a neighbor. He will be missed by many people. I know God will welcome him with open arms as he does for each of us…….

  • Tricia Bohannon Posted February 12, 2019 6:43 pm

    Hugs and prayers to the Higginbotham family! I am so sorry for your loss! Jim was always such a nice man, a true gentleman, and very funny! My Mom, Barbara Bohannon, always spoke highly of him…they worked together when he first started at Public Works. God bless you all.

  • Gayle Smith Hughes Posted February 13, 2019 9:58 am

    Like Regina Dukes, I am a cousin of Jimmy’s and remember so many great times at Mema’s
    house with all the family and Uncle John and Aunt Wynelle. Watermelon cuttings were the best and making homemade ice cream May God richly bless and console the family of this lovely man. Our love goes out to you.

  • Jim & Jane Shroads Posted February 13, 2019 10:49 am

    Call it “politics”if we must, but Jim B never took citizenship for granted. He served well, and we are honored to have known and worked with him. .

  • Ray and Patty Mooney Posted February 13, 2019 2:46 pm

    Our sincere condolences to Carol and to their families. We got to know Jim for the past 4 years from living in Amelia Park. We enjoyed chatting whenever we’d run into Jim — for Patty, it was mostly at Starbucks and the YMCA, and for Ray, he enjoyed his time working closely with Jim on the Amelia Park HOA board. Jim was one of the first persons we met when we moved into the community and he could not have been more welcoming and warm in his greeting. We were extremely fortunate to have him share his wisdom and experience while serving on our HOA board. We will miss Jim’s smile and the gleam in his eye. We hope he is resting peacefully.

  • Carolyn Burns Posted February 14, 2019 12:33 pm

    My deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Jim Higginbotham. I am especially keeping Barry, Laran, and Erin in my thoughts and prayers along with their families.
    May the wonderful memories of your father be a source of blessings to all of you in the future.

    I will miss that friendly, funny, lovable man who enjoyed “holding court” at his Starbucks ‘office’; and loved a good laugh, and a fun game of golf. I know you already have a group of folks in Heaven who are already in awe of you and enjoy your stories! We’ll see you there in that afterlife where there’s no pain and suffering. Blessings to you and all who loved you.

  • Anita Levy Posted February 14, 2019 5:43 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Jim‘s passing. He was an amazing man who always made me laugh and I enjoyed watching how much he loved being around his family.

  • Kris Light Posted February 16, 2019 10:59 pm

    Carol, Barry, Laran and Erin, my heart goes out to you all. Jim was a man who impacted the life of people in big and small ways, touching more lives than any of us will ever know, and all of our lives were enriched because we knew him. I will remember his genuine smile and warm laugh. I will cherish and carry on those memories, and his spirit will continue to live on in me.

    Barry, Laran and Erin, you all spoke so eloquently and touchingly of your father today, and it was beautiful to see the love served in your family. I have no doubts that he is smiling down upon you all.

    I pray for you all in the days to come, for the moments good and bad, for all the things you wish you could share with him or ask him. I pray that GOD will bring you the strength or comfort that you need to carry you through those times. I pray that HE will bring you peace in knowing that Jim is with HIM in Heaven, and he is now a part of the the multitude of Angels who watch over us all.

  • Bobby Bray Posted February 18, 2019 2:30 pm

    Jimmy and I were BEST friends since 1948 and shared many moments during his lifetime. We both attended Hilliard First Baptist Church and were saved and baptized. We both played on the basketball team that won the Florida class ‘C’ State Championship in 1963. I told Jimmy that when he got to heaven, let me know if there was basketball in heaven……he told me I would be starting at point guard next Friday. In 1966, my best friend would become ‘best man’ at my wedding. Not once in our lifetime did we have a disagreement. That is what best friends do. I’ll miss him.

  • Everett Crum Posted February 18, 2019 8:14 pm

    Richard and Vivian, I was truly saddened to learn of Jimmy’s passing. Please accept my late but sincere sympathy. And may the Lord comfort your heart and give you peace in the coming days —
    Everett & Lynette

  • Kathy Athanas Posted February 19, 2019 3:51 pm

    I met Jim and Carol over five years ago and was instantly drawn to them-two charming people who found each other late in life and were enjoying their new lives together, at the same time giving back to their church and Amelia Park neighborhood. I will always remember Jim’s ready smile, his willingness to help neighbors, his love of family, and his unwavering faith. He will be missed by the entire Amelia Park neighborhood.

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