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Roll Call Tribute

Richard Higginbotham '60 April 6, 2024 11:22 AM updated: April 16, 2024 4:42 PM

Richard D. Higginbotham 

June 1, 1937 - March 24, 2024 

Richard D. Higginbotham was a proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie class of ‘60. He graduated with a degree in petroleum engineering and embarked on a 50-year career in the oil and gas industry, working his way up to CEO of Bowen Co. in the years before retirement. He was an avid golf lover, playing at various courses with his family and colleagues. He also traveled frequently and saw many world wonders, including the Taj Mahal, throughout his career.

Richard is survived by his wife of 63 years, Darnell Higginbotham; his sister, Sandra Whatley; his two children, Gary Higginbotham and Tracie Whitacre ’91, and their spouses, Lesley Higginbotham and Kevin Whitacre; his four granddaughters, Erin Higginbotham (his favorite Longhorn), Shelby Kirk ’16, Annie Waite ’18, and Carolyn Waite ’20; his grandson-in-law’s, Trevor Kirk ’14 and Doy Napattaloong ’18; and his great grandchildren, Caden Kirk and Everett Kirk. His Aggie legacy continues, with a little patch of the only burnt orange he’ll ever love, through his family.

One of Darnell’s favorite memories of Richard was their first date at a dimly lit Italian restaurant. Darnell wore a black and white dress and Richard wore a white button down. When they left the restaurant, both were covered in bright red spaghetti stains, which prompted them both to laugh embarrassingly. Darnell says she knew then, “I had to marry him.” They have been happily in love ever since and married at her parents’ home on June 3, 1960.

Richard shared his love for golf with his son, Gary. The two played thousands of rounds together over many years. Their final round was played at the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links on Easter Sunday. Gary described this as “the most memorable round of my life.”

His daughter Tracie was a source of comfort during his final year. Though the two visited doctors and hospitals frequently, they also spent many hours playing Yahtzee and Parcheesi. They were competitive at heart, and the competition ended with Richard five games ahead — he will forever be the Parcheesi champion, a title Tracie is all too happy to concede to her beloved father.

As a grandfather to four granddaughters, Richard was determined that they would all grow up to be Aggies and woke them up by singing the War Hymn. So, when one of his granddaughters followed in her mother’s footsteps to Austin, he started perfecting his Longhorn jokes. He was proud of all four of his grandchildren, regardless of school color, and their successes. Richard was also Papa to his great-grandsons, whose giggles and smiles were brighter in his presence.

Richard’s last moments were spent watching the Aggie men’s basketball team force overtime against UH in 2024 March Madness. He passed shortly after the game was tied and went to Heaven believing they had won — he was a true Aggie until the end.

Papa’s legacy as an Aggie, businessman, husband, father, and grandfather transcends his 86 years with us. His love continues to live through his family, and we are eternally grateful to have known and be loved by the wonderful man he was. We will miss our game nights, our endless laughter, and our Papa for the rest of our days.

To our Papa – enjoy some queso and cookies up in Heaven, and we’ll save a few for you down here. 


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