CAMPTON HILLS – The village of Campton Hills’ first elected clerk, Carolyn Higgins, died March 30 at age 62 after more than a year battling cancer, her family said.
Higgins was elected in 2008 after the village’s incorporation and re-elected in 2011. She resigned March 14 after she became too ill to work.
Her husband, Al Higgins, said they were married 42 years and he knew her two years before they married.
“I’ve spent two-thirds of my life with the lady,” he said. “She was my soul mate.”
Higgins said his wife had vulvar cancer, a rare cancer of the female genital area.
“No lady should have to go through that,” Higgins said.
Still, his wife came through chemotherapy and brutal radiation treatments, but then the cancer metastasized into an aggressive cancer in her lung, which then spread to other organs.
And although she had been in hospice care for a couple of weeks, Higgins said his wife was still up and around.
“She was still playing with grandchildren,” Higgins said. “The Thursday before she passed, the grandkids were over, and then our daughter-in-law and our younger son, and our daughter and son-in-law – and she wanted to go out for pizza. We went to Pizza Cucina in Wasco, and then she passed away Sunday night.”
Carolyn Higgins died at home with her family present, each spending some time with her, he said.
Higgins was cremated. A celebration of her life is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Congregational United Church of Christ, 40W451 Fox Mill Blvd., Campton Hills, with a luncheon to follow the service.
“There is a memorial garden out back at the church we belong to,” Higgins said. “Once the ground thaws, she will reside back there in the memorial garden.”
Her friend, Susan Secondi of Campton Hills, said Higgins will be missed.
“Carolyn was someone you could count on to do the right thing regardless of how difficult it may have been,” Secondi said. “She was a hard worker who had drive, passion and perseverance – but above all, she cared.”
According to the American Cancer Society, vulvar cancer accounts for about 4 percent of cancers of the female reproductive organs and 0.6 percent of all cancers. Statistically, 4,840 cancers of the vulva will be diagnosed and 1,030 women will die of it in 2014, according to the cancer society website, www.cancer.org.