Millicent “Penny” Guptill Higgins

MANCHESTER – Millicent “Penny” Guptill Higgins, 88, passed at Lakewood in Waterville on Nov. 5, 2019, with her daughter, Deborah, at her side.

Penny was born in Houlton, daughter of Orville J. Guptill and Faye (Hall) Guptill. She graduated from Dexter in 1947, then earned a B.A. in Nursing from the University of Maine at Orono in 1952. As a mother who worked outside of the home, she earned an MSN from Boston University in 1972. While teaching nursing, she completed her ED.D at Boston University in 1989.

Penny married to Thomas C. Higgins Jr., in 1952, and until his death in 1999, had a loving and caring marriage in which both felt blessed to be married to the other.

After graduating from Orono, she practiced nursing, then returned to school for an advanced degree and taught nursing for 25 years: first at Newton-Wellesley School of Nursing in Newton, Mass., then Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and lastly, at St. Joseph’s College in Windham. Penny was an active member of Sigma Tau, American Nursing Association, and The National League of Nursing.

She was active in Congregational/UCC churches on membership committees, women’s groups, interfaith groups, and served as a Deacon, most recently at South Parish Church in Augusta. Penny helped to organize League of Women Voters in Weymouth and Braintree, Mass. She continued her participation in the Wellesley, Mass. group. She was a Girl Scout leader for many years. She also served on the board of directors of Wellesley Human Services.

Her published writing includes articles in the Journal of Nursing Education, Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, and The Maine Scholar.

Penny was a Renaissance Women. She was most recently active in Lithgow book club, a knitting circle, and Augusta Senior College, both student and committee member. She was always on the move and enjoyed many activities. Theater and music performances, dining out, day trips, overnight trips, and drives to Massachusetts for visits with friends and family. She also enjoyed personal and creative writing and gardening

Her love of family was evident to all. She loved a family gathering – especially at the family cottage. She appeared when there was a family need and attended countless school sports events. Friends describe her as kind and caring, as well as the “leader of the pack.”

Penny was predeceased by her parents; her husband; a grandstepson, Jason; her sister, Faith Guptill Coyne, and sister-in-law, Ruth Higgins Horsman.

She is survived by her children, Diane Higgins Niles and husband, Wayne of Augusta, Deborah Higgins of Lewiston, and Thomas C. Higgins IV and wife, Kris of Toledo, Ohio. Also, her grandsons, Thomas C. Higgins V, wife Brooke and children Maddy, Mitchell and Monroe of Livonia, Mich.; Michael Higgins, wife Crystal and children Bella, Lexi and Sawyer of Toledo, Ohio; and grandstepdaughter, Kimberly Boivin, husband, Oneil II and children, Olivia and Oneil III of Windsor. She was Aunt Penny to Peter, Phil, Jack and their families, and Aunt Milli to Lauren, Beth, Joe and their families. She leaves her brother-in-law, Roland J. Coyne of Smithville, N.J. She leaves several cousins and countless people who called her their friend.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m., at Old South Congregational Church, 2 Chestnut St., Hallowell. A gathering is planned for immediately after the service in the parish hall.

Our family wishes to thank the friends who visited, sent cards, called, and sent flowers. We are grateful to the staff of the Skilled Care Unit at Lakewood Continuing Care for their kindness and good care shown our mother.

An online guestbook may be signed , and memories shared at

Arrangements are by Lawry Brothers Funeral & Cremation Care, 107 Main St., Fairfield.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Scholarship funds for students at

University of Maine

Senior College

26 University Drive

University of Maine, Augusta, or

Maine Public Radio.