Monday, June 18, 2007

Supposably, Life is too Short

With this post, we say a sad farewell to Steve Higgins, who has died of brain cancer. He was a good editor, and a good friend, and the one who taught us that supposedly was the correct form of the word. We were co-editors of our high school newspaper, and he had the much sharper eye.

In short, he was SPOGG before there was SPOGG. And he was so much more. The world is a dimmer place without him.

Here's his obituary:

From Jay Pulizzi
Remembering Steve Higgins
June 18, 2007

(Jay Pulizzi, who covers the White House for Newswires, befriended Steve Higgins in 1992.)

Steve Higgins was a colleague and cherished friend to hundreds of us around the world. In nearly 11 years at Dow Jones, Steve worked in Harborside, London and Washington, most recently as a copy editor at Corporate Filings Alert. At each stop, his kindness, laser wit and sharp editing earned him legions of friends and admirers.

"He was one of life's genuine characters," said The Wall Street Journal's Alistair MacDonald, whose copy Steve edited (salvaged, some would say) during a four-year stint in London.
In newsrooms full of sloppily clad hacks, Steve's immaculate - sometimes hand-made - suits stood out. As did his eclectic interests - from fishing and painting to the intricacies of English football and cuisine. He was a gracious host, whose home was always open to friends looking for an elaborate meal or traveling colleagues in need of a place to crash. His social network was vast.

He introduced at least two colleagues to their future wives, and is responsible for launching countless other friendships.

London reporter Alen Mattich said, "There aren't many folks like him, not just at Dow, but anywhere. It makes the loss that much wider and deeper."

Steve's brain cancer diagnosis came in June 2004. Days later, he had surgery and began the long fight back to a normal life. From the beginning, he always had hope and he always had the love of his life, Tara. They met in 2002, when a mutual friend set them up. They married on

Aug. 1, 2004, just after Steve's first surgery.

The disease struck Steve again in 2005, leading to another emergency brain surgery, a round of high-dose chemotherapy and stem-cell treatment. Steve's life did return to normal, and he was able to do the things he loved. He traveled with Tara to Hawaii and the Amalfi Coast, among other holidays. And though the cancer returned three months ago and progressed quickly, Steve continued his work raising money for brain cancer research. Not only did he raise $70,000 through May's Race for Hope - he walked part of the 5K course.

Through it all, Steve never gave up fighting and he never lost the "top-drawer sense of humor" that EMEA Resources Managing Editor Adam Smallman remembers. He was "a lovely bloke," Adam said. The feeling was mutual. Steve loved so many people at Dow Jones, and appreciated all the support you gave him during his campaign against cancer.

Unsurprisingly, Steve's life prior to Dow Jones was exciting and eclectic. He grew up in Seattle, with a two-year excursion to Lausanne, Switzerland. In high school he was the coxswain for the men's crew and was voted valedictorian of his class. He went on to Yale, graduating in 1992 with a degree in English. At Yale, he received the Timothy Dwight College Master's Cup for contributions to campus life. Before joining Dow Jones, Steve worked for CBS'
Governmental Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., and as a field organizer for the 1992 Clinton-Gore presidential campaign.

In addition to Tara, Steve is survived by his sister Sara, of Mountain View, CA; parents Robert and Genie of Seattle; and maternal grandmother Louise Sharp, of Overland Park, KS. Tara requests that remembrances be made in the form of contributions to the Massachusetts-based Brain Tumor Society or Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure.

Jay Pulizzi

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