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Remembering Don & Marilyn

Throw-Back-Thursday is a fun little trend on social media that started somewhere in the mid-life of Facebook and the birth of Instagram. In good fun, on some Thursdays here and there, we’ll throw back a vintage piece of gear or something goofy we wore or did years ago. Today is a bit different. We’re remembering Don and Marilyn.

We decided to share something more meaningful to us today because frankly, we still miss Don and Marilyn very much here at the store. So does everyone who knew them, as we often hear. For those of you who never had the pleasure of meeting Don and Marilyn Higley, they were a beautiful couple who were always quick with a big smile, a witty comment or a warm embracing hug. They were truly angels on earth who not only left us with the warmest of memories, but who were also instrumental in growing the sport of skiing here in the Adirondack region to what it is today.

Donald Edward Higley married his beautiful bride, Marilyn Janet Arnold at Grace Episcopal Church in Manchester, N.H. on Sept. 29, 1945. After college, they moved to Manchester, N.H., where Don became a sporting goods manager at JJ Moreau Co. In 1959, he and Marilyn moved to Glens Falls, N.Y., where Don worked as a manufacturer’s representative with Profile Skiwear and Conroy Gloves.

In 1962, both helped organize the West Mountain Ski Club, where Don was President and Marilyn, Secretary. Soon after, Don became Chairman of the Junior Ski Racing League Program and his efforts led to the launch of the Southern Adirondack Junior Racing League at West Mountain. Years following, he and Marilyn both became officials in the New York State Ski Racing Association, and Don became New York State chairman of the Junior III and Junior IV racing programs.

As years went by, the couple continued to stay active in the sport they loved most and volunteered wherever possible, including organizing a citywide program for the Girl Scout Ski Badge, teaching the girls how to ski. Marilyn was also the leader of a group of teenage girls called the Kristie Kritters, taking ski trips throughout the season. Don received an award from Sports Magazine for promoting Junior Ski Racing and his work with young people, especially the Girl Scouts. One of their most treasured memories was when they were Alpine Officials at the 1980 XVIII Winter Olympics held at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, N.Y. Framed in their home on Glen Lake was an epic picture of Don and a few others hoisting up Phil Mahre just across the finish line as he skied to an olympic silver medal in the slalom.

After retirement, they became affiliated with son Gary and wife Susan, and grandsons, Justin and Andrew here at Sports Page. Marilyn passed away on April 16, 2009 and Don passed on April 4, 2011. A beautiful epitaph was written by Megan Haggerty, Journalist with The Post-Star shortly after Don’s passing on May 15, 2011. The epitaph can be read here: http://poststar.com/news/local/epitaph-skier-shared-passion-with-family-community/article_dc279844-7f4f-11e0-9aa2-001cc4c002e0.html

“Grammie” and “Grandpa” Higley – you are missed but rest assured, your light still shines bright around here and your presence is felt – on and off the slopes.