On Sunday, July 10, 2022, Paul Norris Higbee, Sr., longtime resident of Homerville, passed away at the age of 84. Paul was born on February 16, 1938, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Paul attended Boca Ciega High School in St. Petersburg, FL, received a bachelor’s degree with high honors in Education from the University of Florida in 1960, was a member of the Phi Delta Kappa and Kappa Delta Pi Honors Societies, and received a master’s degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University in 1978.
Paul served for twenty years in the US Air Force, first as a communications officer, then as a Phantom F4 fighter pilot, and retired as a Major and Vietnam War veteran in 1982. During his military career, he also flew faster than the speed of sound and was stationed in Germany with his wife for four years, Thailand during the Vietnam War for one year, South Korea commanding a bombing range for one year, and spent four years at the Pentagon in top secret Middle Eastern affairs. While stationed in Germany, Paul inadvertently flew into Swiss Air Space when he buzzed Neuschwanstein Castle (famously Disney World’s model for Cinderella’s castle). He won numerous awards and medals, culminating in the Distinguished Flying Cross for valor in Vietnam. Paul loved being a pilot, had dreamed since childhood of flying, and his Air Force career brought him great satisfaction. He additionally spent seventeen years teaching computer science and physics at Coastal Pines Technical College (previously Ware Technical College) and the University of North Florida.
Paul had an incredibly strong work ethic; after his father passed away when he was nine years old, he took his first job sweeping up at a grocery store for 50 cents an hour. He never stopped working and constantly strived to improve himself as a lifelong learner across various subjects and disciplines, from astronomy to music. His many passions and hobbies included learning ancient sailing techniques rather than relying on modern technology, exploring the Florida Gulf Coast and Georgia Atlantic Coast on boating and fishing trips as well as finding new campgrounds and restaurants to enjoy, becoming an expert in organic gardening, and bonding with strangers with his keen ability to strike up a conversation with anyone.
He is survived by his wife of sixty-two years Margaret Higbee, his son Paul “PJ” Higbee, Jr. and daughter-in-law Wendy Higbee, his granddaughter Madison Higbee, his sister Marie Moore, his niece Michele Simmons, his nephew-in-law John Simmons, and his grandnephew Kenneth Simmons.
A viewing will be held July 27, 2022, at 10am at Roundtree Funeral Home, 240 E Dame Ave, Homerville, GA 31634, followed by the funeral service at 11am at North Cemetery. Honorary Pallbearers will include Thomas Chambers, Jerry Edwards, Charles Gruver, Jeff Helms, Nass Hendley, Eric Lutz, Phillip Martin, and Troy Riberon. Homerville United Methodist Church’s Reverend Joseph Carter will speak at the graveside. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Homerville United Methodist Church (202 S Church St, Homerville, GA 31634) or a charity of your choice.