One year removed from the venerable Higgins family’s devastating loss of their son Henry ‘Hank’ Higgins, 29, the immediate family gathered at Boyle Park to mark the installation of a beautiful Big Wave Bench, the creation of longtime Bolinas artist and arborist-turned sculptor Chuck Oakander, who has a passion for making functional, fun benches and sculptures from tree trunks.
Henry Higgins, a longtime Mill Valley resident, died unexpectedly of heart complications on February 4, 2022 in River Falls, where he attended high school and to where he’d recently relocated.
Higgins was born on March 3, 1992 in Kentfield. The son of William and Terese Waltman Higgins, he attended Park School in Mill Valley before moving to Wisconsin. He graduated from River Falls High School in the class of 2010. He furthered his education at the University of Colorado, Boulder where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business. His love of food and hospitality were a perfect fit for the restaurant industry. He found much success working for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, a premiere restaurant corporation based in Chicago. He would later join his father and brother Tyler, in owning and operating Floodwater restaurant in Mill Valley.
Higgins had recently moved back to Wisconsin and Blue Sky Farm, his old stomping grounds in River Falls. Nothing made him smile more than spending time with the love of his life, Jeannette Sozanski. He enjoyed relaxing at home with Jeanette making a romantic dinner and watching a movie with their lively dog, Roux. Higgins grew up in Mill Valley, the home of mountain biking. Riding his bike on Mount Tamalpais brought him such joy. He was a thrill seeker, enjoyed snow boarding, fishing, skate boarding, sky diving, any dare devil adventure.
Higgins will live on in the hearts of his beloved family, mother Terry Waltman Higgins; father Bill Higgins; his soul mate Jeanette Sozanski: siblings Tyler, his wife Caley Higgins and their children Tatum and Bridger; his sister Morgan Higgins and her husband Ryan Sherrill; sister Gia Higgins, and brothers Jasper Higgins and Wyatt Higgins; as well as aunts and uncles, numerous cousins and countless friends. His grandparents Len and Milly Waltman, and Richard and Betty Higgins precede him in death.
The bench marks the third publicly available bench in Mill Valley. The first two were installed in Old Mill Park courtesy a successful grant proposal from the Mill Valley Chamber‘s Enjoy Mill Valley Fund to the Outdoor Art Club. Oakander’s first Mill Valley bench was located just opposite the Old Mill and close to Cascade Drive.
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