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James “Jay” Henry Higgins III

September 1, 2017
Lake Placid News

James "Jay" Henry Higgins III passed away peacefully at his home in Washington, D.C., on July 7, 2017, at the age of 77.

Jay is survived by his sister Barbara H. Rhine of Rumford, Rhode Island; brother Louis H. Higgins of Lake Placid; nieces Victoria Rhine of Providence, Rhode Island, Whitney Rhine Wheeler of Troy, New Hampshire, and Jennifer Higgins Turret of New York City; and nephew Bradford Rhine of Denver, Colorado.

Jay was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 8, 1940, the son of James Henry Higgins Jr. and Betty Hall Higgins. He graduated from Governor Drummer Academy in 1958 and Brown University in 1962. After service in the U.S. Army, Jay returned to Governor Drummer Academy as a faculty member and then went on to several corporate jobs in the fields of communications and marketing.

Jay was an avid boater, photographer and international traveler, and combined these three passions through much of his adult life. He developed a love of wooden boats from childhood summers in the Adirondacks on Lake Placid at his grandparents' summer house, Camp Shawnee. This love of boats led to his joining the Antique and Classic Boat Society in 1978. Jay served the ACBS in many capacities, including as president from 1984 to 1985, and in 1991, he received the society's highest honor, the Founders' Award.

Through extensive travel while pursuing wooden boat shows and restoration work, Jay developed an extensive network of cherished friends who shared his passion for antique boat preservation. Jay was called upon many national and international presentations and lectures, including Monaco Classic Week; Boats and Boathouses of the Adirondacks; Antique and Classic Boating in Scandinavia and Thailand; the Restoration in Turkey of Savarona, the "largest private yacht ever built"; and Fay and Bowen, the engine company remembered for its boats.

In addition to his lectures, he authored articles for Adirondack Life, Brass Bell, Classic Boating, Nautical Quarterly and Rusty Rudder. He also enjoyed organizing tours for boating enthusiasts and in 1987 led a trip to England's Lake District. Jay became known as a source within the antique boat circles for much information, and if he didn't know the information, he would thoroughly enjoy the process of finding it.

When not traveling, Jay resided in Washington, D.C., and enjoyed summers on Lake Placid at his family's summer house, Camp Owaissa. While on Lake Placid, he was a founder of the annual Clamato Regatta (renamed Lake Placid Regatta) and served that organization in many roles, lastly as admiral emeritus.

Jay also had several non-boating interests, including Management Committee, A.S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University; president, City Tavern Presentation Foundation; associate, Naval War College Foundation; Board of Directors and Advisory Board, Lake Placid Institute; Board of Directors, Adirondack Architectural Heritage; board of directors and secretary, City Tavern Club.

The M.B. Clark Inc. Funeral Home in Lake Placid is in charge of arrangements. Relatives and friends wishing to leave condolences can visit

To honor Jay's memory, please consider a gift to one of his favorite organizations: Lake Placid Regatta, in care of Laura Dugan, 238 Blackburn Road, Summit, NJ 07901; or Antique and Classic Boat Society, 422 James St., Clayton, NY 13624; or Humane Rescue Alliance, 1201 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; or Lake Placid Institute Roundtable Series, P.O. Box 988, Lake Placid, NY 12946.



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