|Date Of Birth:||June 8, 1917|
|Date Of Death:||March 5, 2010|
|Service Date:||Memorial Service will be at 6:00 pm Friday, March 12, 2010 at Allen Funeral Home family will receive friends from 5-6 p.m.|
Jeanne Kay Higginbotham, widow of songwriter Mack Kay Higginbotham, died Friday night, March 5, at Garden Villa in Bloomington. She was 92. A resident of Bloomington since 1978, she was born Jeanne Gordon Stephens on June 8, 1917 in Anderson, Indiana, the daughter of Guy Don and Lola (Gordon) Stephens. She was raised in the Midwest and Southwest before moving to New York City following the Depression. Through her family she met Mack, who had moved from Indiana to pursue a career in songwriting. They married in 1940. Following the war, in which she served in the USO, the couple remained in New York City. Jeanne helped her husband pursue his songwriting, and they raised one daughter. During these years, she was also employed as a secretary at a variety of businesses, including the Gene Goodman Music Publishing Company and the New York Mets. An accomplished singer, she was a member of the Queens Oratorio Society and the Henry Street Settlement Chorus. Following her husband’s retirement, Jeanne and Mack moved to Bloomington, where both became active in the community. Jeanne joined the Sweet Adelines singing group, which she served as president for nine years. During that time the group was chartered and sang at numerous area functions. She also volunteered at Bloomington Hospital, at WTIU, and at the Area 10 Agency on Aging. After her husband’s death, she established the first endowed fund specifically for jazz at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and was involved in encouraging young people in their study of jazz composition and arrangement. She was a life-long Methodist and a member of the University Baptist Church. Jeanne’s ancestors on both sides were pioneers in Indiana and she was known as the family historian, keeping an extensive collection of old pictures, clippings, and family letters. She loved to read, make jewelry, and, above all, be with people. Everyone she met became a friend. Due to arthritis, she entered a complete care facility five and a half years ago. For many people this would have been the end of the story. But Jeanne continued her active social life to the very end. As a tribute to her upbeat nature and outgoing personality, her extended family and many friends, including some of the students who had won the jazz fellowship years ago, stayed in frequent contact with her – often traveling long distances to see her. She also made many new friends at Garden Villa among the residents, residents’ families, and staff. Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Linda Higginbotham and Brad Leftwich of Bloomington; one grandson, Mayura Natha Swami (Seth Higginkern) of Thiruvannamalai, India; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, three sisters, one brother, and one granddaughter. Jeanne’s family will receive friends from 5-6 p.m. and a memorial service will follow from 6-7 p.m. Friday, March 12 at Allen Funeral Home, 4155 S.Old State Rd. 37, Bloomington, IN. Memorial contributions may be made to the Mack H. Kay Scholarship for Excellence in Jazz Composition through the Indiana University Foundation, P.O. Box 500, Bloomington, IN 47405. Online condolences and memories may be shared at www.allenfuneralhome.org.