It is with a heavy heart that Captain James Hough, US Navy, Retired, shares with family, friends and neighbors the news of the passing in February 2021 of his beloved bride and best friend of 53 years, Marky (nee Mary Kathryn Higgins) after a courageous journey with Alzheimer’s Disease for the past 8 years.
Marky was born in 1945 to Kathryn J. and Robert F. Higgins. She spent her childhood in San Diego, California, where she was active with the Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church. Having contracted Infantile Paralysis (Polio) as a young child (ironically one year before the Salk vaccine was approved for worldwide use), she spent two years in a children’s hospital including intensive physical therapy. Because of her positive outlook on life, she was chosen to be the Queen of the March of Dimes Parade one year, all the while wearing a neck-to-hip body cast to correct polio-induced scoliosis. A graduate of Point Loma High School, she enrolled at San Diego State University where she majored in Sociology. She graduated with a permanent California K-12 teaching credential and taught elementary-aged children of low-income families in San Diego.
Soon after Ensign Jim Hough’s graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy, he met Marky and they were wed a year later in 1967, after a truncated courtship that was interrupted by Jim’s deployment to the western Pacific as the war in Vietnam was expanding. Marky was the epitome of a great Navy wife, serving in numerous roles supporting Jim’s 28 years of active duty including his year ‘in-country’ in Vietnam, two afloat executive officer postings, two shore command assignments, and three afloat command tours. Apart from accompanying him to Joint Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, the Naval Destroyer School and the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, the Pacific theater was their home with postings in San Diego, Long Beach, and Okinawa as well as Sasebo, Japan.
Known as “the lady in the blue dress on the pier” while following the ship on each deployment, Marky tirelessly and enthusiastically served in various positions in command wives’ clubs both afloat and ashore. She was most respected, trusted, and welcomed in innumerable quasi-official advisory roles of the Navy focusing on dependent family support. She diligently participated in numerous personnel support and foreign relations activities, most notably in Japan where she studied the language and customs. At one point she taught English language and business etiquette to young Japanese students bound for international work in corporate Japan.
She always fervently supported our U.S. Marine Corps and Navy communities both at home and overseas.
Upon Jim’s Navy retirement from active duty in 1994, Marky continued supporting him in his second career in City and Municipal management starting in Kansas and, in due course, settling down and retiring in Oregon. In addition to traveling with him throughout the Pacific and Indian Ocean areas, she was a Certified Travel Consultant (CTC) organizing tours around the world, while specializing in Foreign Independent Travel (FIT) throughout Europe.
Marky energetically participated with Jim in Naval Academy alumni functions throughout their marriage and was a committed Navy football fan; always ready, willing, and able to sound off “Beat Army”. Marky was a strongly committed member of the women’s philanthropic organization P.E.O. where she was active in raising funds for scholarships for women.
In addition to Jim, her husband of 53 years, Marky is survived by her sister Patricia Higgins of Hanover, New Hampshire, her brother Robert Higgins of Seattle, Washington, and several nieces and nephews. Her family takes heart in the stories, memories, laughter, and love of a life well-lived. She loved her extended family throughout the world that included many a fellow Navy wife who all valued her friendship, sincerity, generosity, sense of humor, and cosmopolitan personality allowing all who she encountered to feel loved and welcomed.
Marky was interred at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland Oregon following a beautiful ceremony attended by several special friends, and fellow-residents of the Mary’s Woods retirement community in Lake Oswego, OR. A virtual Celebration of Life is contemplated for a date yet to be determined due to pandemic considerations. Her grave marker reads “The Best Navy Wife“. And she was.
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