Clare J. Higgins, age 75, passed away peacefully by her daughter, Ingrid, and son, Martin.
Born in Littlehampton, Sussex, England to William and Betsy Hilda Higgins, Clare was an adventurous young lady. In her childhood, she enjoyed riding horses and ponies. She loved going to the barn and spending time riding the top area ponies and eventually riding a pony to Horse of the Year. She went to an all-girls Catholic boarding school, Sacred Heart, in Billinghurst, West Sussex, with her good friend, Sue Steffen, where she and Sue always loved having fun and always keeping the nuns on their toes. Upon getting her degree at Worthing College of Further Education, she moved to South Kensington, London, with three of her friends to work. There she met her first husband, Theo. They both eventually traveled to New York City to explore The Land of Opportunity at that time, and see where their lives would take them.
They eventually ended up in Wilmington, and lived on Market Street for several years and married. Clare worked at the YMCA for many, many years in the membership department. Prior to the crippling onset of Multiple Sclerosis, she had a vibrant life of traveling, exercising, and enjoying what life put in front of her. Her love for horses never ended. She enjoyed being the groom and motivator to her daughter during her daughter's 12 years of equestrian competition, which was her passion. Clare's love of the sport was contagious; always motivating everyone to be driven, dedicated, and having the desire to keep going, something by which she always lived. She was especially proud of her son, Martin, during his many competitive years of running in high school and college. Her love of her children was enduring. Her struggle with MS was tough, but her strength and persistence to keep moving was valiant.
Clare lived at Gilpin Hall Nursing Home for 17 years when the MS took her body, but she never once gave in to her disability, instead she found ways to work around it. Gilpin Hall was the most wonderful community during her years of struggle, but she stood with dignity and strength that no one or anything could take away. She was one strong woman, who lived by the words..."when the going gets tough, the tough get going!"
She will be greatly missed by her daughter, Ingrid Yerger, from Newark, DE, and grandchildren Beau and Blaine, and her son, Martin Brans, from Allentown, PA and his wife Jessica, and grandchildren, Hunter and Isabella, whom she loved dearly, and her husband, Peter Hemingway from Wilmington. She is also survived by her brother, John Higgins, from Camberley, UK.
Ingrid and Martin want to thank Gilpin Hall for the 17 years of their loving dedication to her care. She was a loved family member there and they loved her back enormously!
To honor her courageous life, a service will take place at Gilpin Hall Nursing Home Chapel on October 28 at 11am. In lieu of flowers, Ingrid asks that donations be made to the MS Society of Delaware or Gilpin Hall Nursing Home in honor of Clare.