Former Salisbury Fire Chief William Emerson Higgins, 82, of Salisbury, died Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional in Salisbury.
Born in Seaford, he was the son of the late Emerson G. Higgins and Sarah Elizabeth Graham Higgins.
Known to his friends as “Pinky,” he was a 1956 graduate of Seaford High School. He earned his nickname from wearing pink socks in high school.
In 1959, he was appointed as a police officer with the Seaford Police Department, where he retired as a Lieutenant in 1980, after 21 years of service.
He also served as Chief of the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department.
In 1980, he was appointed Deputy Chief of the Salisbury Fire Department and served in that position until 1992, at which time he was selected to be the Fire Chief.
In 2000, he retired and worked part time with the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office in Court Security.
He remained deeply involved with leadership and administrative duties at Salisbury Fire Station No. 2.
He graduated from the FBI National Academy, 93rd Class, and also from the Delaware State Police Academy.
He was recognized by the Seaford Jaycees in 1964 as “Outstanding Young Man of the Year.”
He was past president of the Delaware Chiefs of Police, past president of Sussex County Fire Chiefs, and was past president of the Delaware State Fire Chiefs, in which he led the statewide effort to install the 911 system.
He was inducted into the Delaware State Firemen’s Hall of Fame, the Delmarva Firemen’s Hall of Fame, and the Firemen’s Historical Hall of Fame.
He was a 32nd Degree Mason with Hiram Lodge No. 21 in Seaford for the past 55 years. He also served as past President and Board Member of several Pots Nets Communities in Long Neck.
A member of the Delmarva Gospel Music Association, he spent the later years of his life attending many Delmarva Gospel sings and Carey’s Church Camp in Millsboro.
He is survived by four nephews, Jack Dennis Jester of Salisbury, Leroy Brewington of Delmar, Kerry Lee Wilber of Maine and Kim David Wilber of Pennsylvania; and three nieces, Cindy Anderson of Bethel, Twyla Marshall of Milford and Kelli VanHorn of Florida.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two sisters, Phyllis Higgins Brewington and Ruth Higgins Wilber; and a niece, Beth Jester.
A firefighter’s funeral service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at 11 a.m. at the Emmanuel Wesleyan Church in Salisbury, with his nephew, the Rev. Jack Jester officiating.
There will be a visitation on Saturday at the church from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
There will also be a visitation Friday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Holloway Funeral Home in Salisbury.
Following the Saturday services at church, interment will be held at Odd Fellows Cemetery in Seaford, where he will be honored by the Hiram Masonic Lodge and the Salisbury and Seaford Fire Departments.