Dell Hardman Higgs, 100, our beloved Centurion father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and friend slipped into eternity Tuesday April 19, 2022 at home. Dell was born October 25, 1921 in Sunset, Utah to Christopher Moses Higgs and Florence Ann Hardman. He was the first child in a family of 16 that included eight brothers and five sisters. He learned the necessity of hard work early in life as he helped support his large family. He worked picking beets on the many beet farms in the Layton area as well as helping his father deliver newspapers.
Dell attended Davis High School graduating in 1939. He met Veloy Groves on a blind date arranged by her cousin. Dell decided after their first date that Veloy was the girl he was going to marry. Veloy thought that she was going on that date with a different guy! Dell joined the Utah National Guard at the age of 17. He was stationed at Fort Douglas and was going to be trained as an officer but could not qualify due to poor eyesight. He was instead sent to San Luis Obispo, California in June 1941 where he was assigned to the 145th Field Artillery Battalion with the rank of corporal.. During this time Veloy met Dell in Las Vegas, Nevada where they were married September 21, 1941. She lived with him in California off base for a few months. She then returned home to live with her parents in Bountiful, Utah. Dell was discharged from the Army National Guard in December following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After being discharged, he returned home and worked for the Bamberger Railroad in Bountiful, Utah for 8 months from January 1942 until September. He repaired and replaced bridges and also greased the Lagoon Rollercoaster tracks in Farmington. During this time they lived in Veloy’s parents basement in Bountiful, Utah. Dell was drafted into active duty with the Army in October 1942 and stationed again at Fort Douglas before being transferred to Fort Ord, California. Dell was assigned to the 143rd Ordinance Recovery Company where, from October 1942 to early 1944, he transported worn out tanks and half-tracks from the Desert Training Center to Los Angeles after the war startedHe shipped to England in February 1944 in a convoy of 200 ships. While in England, he transported vehicles from the docks to depots inland. In June 1944 he boarded an amphibious landing ship tank loaded with tanks, trucks, and equipment in the middle of the English Channel. They had to wait for two days for the beach to be cleared before they could land on Omaha Beach June 8, 1944 two days after D-Day. When he arrived at the beach his company had to waterproof the vehicles and on the night of June 8th he was in water up to his waist. His unit would go in and remove all blown up and disabled vehicles and take them in for repairs. His unit transported anything with wheels or tracks. Dell served in Normandy, Paris, Luxembourg, and the Ardennes in Neupre, Belgium. After Normandy he was assigned to the French Forces and drove the Redball Express for a while. They drove 6X6 trucks and transported supplies to the front lines. A few days after spending time at the Battle of the Bulge, he was in the hospital for blood poisoning in both feet due to over exposure to snow and wet conditions. He was sent by train to Paris spending Christmas 1944 there. He was then sent on a hospital ship to England for recuperation for 67 days. After this he could no longer drive transport and was sent to the 9th Troop Carrier Command and to an airbase at Ipswich England to serve out the war. While serving as a courier in London, Germany surrendered and a point system was developed to get our troops home faster. He had earned enough points to be at the top of the list, having 6 years of service and 5 campaign stars and ribbons. He boarded a ship in Belgium and sailed for 10 days through the North Sea and English Channel. He was on the Liberty Ship from Antwerp in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean when Japan surrendered. He landed in New York City on August 24, 1945, his wife Veloy’s 28th birthday! Four days later he was home and discharged at Fort Douglas one month later. Dell and Veloy were happy to be back together again after almost 6 long years of being separated. They were sealed six months later in the Salt Lake Temple on March 28, 1946.
Dell was truly a patriot who loved his country. He was honored to participate in an Honor Flight to visit historic military sites including the World War II Memorial in Washington, D. C. with his daughter Lorinda in May 2018. He was also honored for his service in a ceremony at his daughter’s home in early March 2022 as one of the few still living World War II veterans. He was presented with a World War II medal, a container of sand from Normandy Beach, a beautiful American Flag folded in front of him, and other special patches in honor of his service.
Dell was a gifted and talented builder and this became his life’s work. His business was construction which he learned by practice and hard work. He helped build his mother and father-in-law’s home at 167 West 100 South in Bountiful, Utah. He lived in their basement with his wife and two children while building his own home at 388 West center Street in Bountiful. He also built his own amazing workshop behind his home where he spent many happy hours. He worked for Grant Hermansen Construction for 15 years building homes in Davis County. He then worked as a construction foreman for Herm Hughes and Sons Contractors building stores, schools and churches in Utah and Texas. At age 96, he was still building as he constructed an “impressive shed” at his daughter’s home. Dell was also an expert handy-man who could fix almost anything-a love he considered a hobby. He also listed travel, golf, photography, computers, and reading as favorite hobbies. He had his own dark room for developing his own film, and taught himself how to repair TV’s.
Dell was a loving husband, father, and family man. Dell and Veloy’s son, Lynn Brent Higgs, was born June 4, 1946. He passed away March 1, 2015. Their daughter, Lorinda Dian Higgs, was born February 28, 1950 and survives her mom, dad and brother. Veloy, his beloved wife, passed away July 3, 1985. Dell married Doris Pehrson June 20, 1987 in the Salt Lake Temple for time. They served as missionaries in the Tennessee Knoxville Mission for a year where they lived in their 5th wheel. When they returned, they traveled to nearly all of the 50 states. Dell and Doris moved from Bountiful to Boise, Idaho in 2011 to be closer to Doris’s family. Doris passed away January 9, 2017 in Boise. After Doris passed away, Dell went back to Massachusetts to live with Dave and Lorinda for 6-months while they prepared to sell their home and return to Utah. After living in Massachusetts for 48 years, Lorinda and Dave purchased a home in Syracuse, Utah in October 2017 and Dell lived with them receiving tender loving care from them until his passing April 19, 2022.
Dell was a devoted and faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among other callings, he served as a faithful home teacher, a Young Men’s leader, a veil worker at the Salt Lake Temple and secretary of his High Priest group while in his nineties.
Dell is survived by his daughter Lorinda Dian and son-in-law David Anderson of Syracuse, Utah and “foster son” Larry Groves and wife Gail of North Salt Lake, Utah; 9 grandchildren and their spouses; and a growing number of great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. Dell is also survived by four brothers-Jerald, Jay, Allen, and Eugene Higgs.
Funeral services will be held Saturday April 30, 2022 at 11 AM in the Russon Mortuary Syracuse chapel at 1585 West 300 South, Syracuse, Utah. Viewings will be held Friday April 29, 2022 from 6:30 to 8 PM and Saturday April 30, 2022 from 10 to 11 AM at the mortuary. Interment will be at the Bountiful City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Missionary Fund or Humanitarian Fund of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Published by Russon Mortuary & Crematory – Syracuse from Apr. 27 to Apr. 28, 2022.