Laura Ann Higginson Jung

April 10, 1941, July 09, 2018

Laura Jung

Laura Ann Higginson was born on April 10, 1941 in Dade City, Florida. She was the first child born to Kenneth Mark Higginson and Pauline Lorenia Eiland and a second-generation Floridian. Laura was deeply loved by her parents and was a wonderful example to her younger sister, Barbara, and two brothers, Mark and Joe.

Shortly after her birth, her family moved to Whistler, Alabama so that her father could make a living in the Mobile shipyards during World War II. While in Whistler, her sister and brothers were born. They enjoyed playing with the neighborhood kids and spending time in their large playhouse that their father had built for them, complete with electricity. Laura would often be found spending time with her sister Barbara playing dolls there and raiding the strawberry patch behind their home. She would gather the ripe strawberries and sit against the back of the house just out of her mother’s watch and devour the strawberries. She probably could have gotten away with it, had there not been incriminating evidence on her face that gave away her secret to her mom.

After the war, the shipyard business dwindled and forced Laura’s dad to look elsewhere for work. He moved his family back to Crystal Springs, Florida, when Laura was in the third grade, where her grandfather had a homestead. They lived with him for a short time until her dad could build a shell home for her family.

One of the attributes that Laura was known for was being a hard worker. Once she had a goal in mind she was determined to accomplish it. She excelled at her schoolwork and in her membership in the 4-H organization. She considered herself to have a few weaknesses in physics and typing, but she didn’t let that stop her from achieving success. Her hard work paid off and she succeeded by being selected as her class Valedictorian. She was also selected as a State Achievement Delegate to the National 4-H Club Congress held in Chicago during her senior year. She was awarded numerous scholarships throughout high school and college that allowed her to attend Florida State University and major in-Home Economics Education. She later completed her Master’s degree there in the same field.

Don’t let Laura’s studious side completely fool you; she also had her moments of mischief. During her freshman year in college, she and some of her friends went out and captured armadillos in the Florida countryside and brought a few of them back to FSU campus. They released them in the girl’s dormitory, the swimming pool, and at a football game. This caused quite a little stir of excitement.

Laura continued to study hard during college and later met the love of her life, George Richard Jung, from Little Rock, Arkansas. They met during their sophomore year of college at FSU. George and Laura’s roommates were friends with each other, and one day they all sat down to lunch together. Somehow the discussion turned to desegregation. George had attended Little Rock Central High School but was forced to move when the school was shut down due to integration problems. He was talking about his experiences there and that topic intrigued my mom. She continued talking with him and later they were able to get messages back and forth to each other through the dorms. Unfortunately, my mom could not remember his name and so she didn’t remember who was trying to have a date with her. After they finally got that resolved they were able to go out fairly soon and they continued to date.  They went on tennis dates and attended movies and dances on campus. Their love continued to flourish and grow.

One funny story about them while they were dating was that Dad wanted to impress Mom and take her to the Green and Gold ball, which is the ROTC ball for the campus. The problem was, Dad was not a member of the ROTC, but his roommate was. His roommate did not want to attend, so Dad asked his roommate if he could go in his place. He borrowed his roommate’s uniform and took Mom to the ROTC ball. He told her that if anybody asked what his name was, she should call him by his roommate’s name, so they didn’t get into trouble. That shows how much our Dad loved Mom and really wanted to win her heart.

Dad left FSU a little while later because his grades were not what they should be. He went back home to Little Rock, Arkansas and was able to go to school there. He joined the naval reserves and then decided to do his military service obligation. Even though they were apart for this time, they still wrote letters regularly and continue to get to know each other.

They met as much as they could and visited each other‘s families. When my mom graduated from Florida State University in 1963, she was asked by George to marry her. He proposed on the same day that she was graduating college on the lawn of FSU by the President’s house on a grassy spot. She accepted his proposal, and Dad said that “Those were the prettiest words he had ever heard”. They were later married on December 30, 1963.

Upon graduating college, Laura taught high school as a home economics teacher in several schools in Florida. During their earlier married years, jobs and schooling took the young couple to different locations throughout Florida. Wherever they lived, they touched peoples’ lives for good and others touched them.

In 1973, her college friend, Joyce Williams, introduced Laura to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joyce had recently joined the church and wanted to share it with Laura. Laura took the missionary discussions and began to pray to know if this was the true church. She received an answer that it was true. She approached George expressing her desire about joining. George loved Laura and wanted to see her happy. He said that if that she felt so strongly that she needed to join this church then she should join the church. Laura was baptized on April 28, 1973. She was a pioneer in her family, being the first to join. Laura’s testimony of the gospel was shared with other family members. Because of her example, later her mother and father joined the church.  In 1979, after several years of patiently waiting and heartfelt prayers, George had a desire to learn more about the gospel and joined the church as well. Later, her brother, Joe, and sister, Barbara were baptized too.

Laura and George tried for many years to have children. The desire to be a mother caused Laura to exercise her great faith in prayer and fasting. She brought her desires to the Lord and had a great faith that the Lord would answer her prayers. One Sunday, she asked her home and visiting teachers to fast with her for a special fast. Laura’s longtime friend, Joyce Williams, was not able to be there, but she joined them on the phone as they broke their fast. Joyce said that while they were praying, that she got an impression that she saw two girls running through a field with lighter blonde hair. She told this to my mom saying that she felt that those girls would be hers someday. 

Laura continued to have faith that someday she would be blessed with children. Later that year she found out she was pregnant with her first daughter Erika Dawn, and 2 ½ years later, Karen Elizabeth. Laura had an incredible faith, which sustained her and others throughout her lifetime.

Laura created a home environment that fostered nurture, love, hard work, faith, courage, and compassion. Laura was able to stay at home during her daughters’ early years and her journal entries during that time are focused on how she sought for ways to bring those qualities to the forefront of her family life. Whether it was how she faced family challenges of unemployment, guiding and molding her daughters, strengthening her relationships with her husband and other family members, or expressing gratitude, she remained stalwart and was a rock to her family.

Laura loved music and gardening. In her free time wherever she lived, she cultivated and beautified the home inside and out with her creative talents. She painted a beautiful ceramic nativity set that lovingly was set out each Christmas. She spent hours upon hours in the yard gardening. She often stayed up into the wee hours on personal projects. Laura could often be found singing in the church choir. At her hand and by her side, her daughters learned what it meant to be a caring mother. She lived a life worn out in service to her family and others.

George’s work took them to several locations in Florida, Ohio, and Louisiana. In 1988 they finally settled in Killeen, Texas. Wherever she lived, Laura found ways to put her home economics degree to good use. Whether it was having a home daycare, working as an extension agent, introducing her children to 4-H, or teaching in the public school, she embraced it all.

George and Laura celebrated 52 ½ years of marriage at the time of George’s passing in Killeen in 2016. They were in the process of moving down to Beaumont to be closer to their daughters when he passed away. Laura still proceeded with courage and faith as she left her longtime home for a new one. In Beaumont she faced recurring health challenges that caused her to have multiple trips to the hospital. Even with these circumstances, she continued to embrace life and cherish each moment she had with her family. One of her goals was to see the world and travel outside the United States, which she had never done. She accomplished that goal in 2017 as she surprised her children and sister with a cruise. She loved that experience so much that for Christmas in 2017, she surprised her daughters with a second mother-daughter cruise. Mom always had a quick wit ready for use. On the cruise, some local entertainers were teasingly flirting with the daughters. Erika replied, “Hey! We’re married!” to which Laura quipped, “Well, I’m single!”

When asked what kept her going when life has gotten difficult, she has often replied it is her family and grandkids. She loved each one of them and cherished her time with them. They felt and experienced her love for them and could often be observed visiting with her, doing family service projects for her, and sending her letters and cards. Laura leaves a legacy of love, faith, and courage not only for her children and grandchildren, but also for those friends whose lives she has touched for good wherever she has lived.

We are deeply saddened that we have to part with Laura for a time. We know that families can be together forever, and that we will be with her again someday, which gives us great comfort. The challenges that she recently faced were difficult for us to see, and now that she is free of them, her body is not holding her back and she is able to progress. We know that our Mom and Dad are reunited, and it gives us great joy to know that they are together again.

Mom, we love you: and wanted you to know that your example and love for others and us will live on. We will continue to share that legacy by how we conduct our lives, because you showed us the way.

A gathering of Mrs. Jung’s family and friends will be from 9:00 a.m. until 9:45 a.m., with her funeral service to follow at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, July 14, 2018, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7785 Weaver Drive, Beaumont. A graveside service will be 10:00 a.m., Monday, July 16, 2018, at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, 11463 Highway 195, Killeen, under the direction of Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the LDS Humanitarian Aid Fund at the following website: www.ldsphilanthropies.org/humanitarian-services.

Video

Gathering of Family and Friends
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
7785 Weaver Drive Beaumont, TX 77706
Saturday, July 14, 2018
9:00 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.
Funeral Service
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
7785 Weaver Beaumont, TX 77706
Saturday, July 14, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Graveside Service
Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery
11463 Highway 195, Killeen, Texas 76542
Monday, July 16, 2018
10:00 a.m.

Comments (1)

  • Mary Joyce Manuel

    13 July 2018 at 14:07 | #

    Condolences. My prayers for her and your family.

    reply

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