Bob Higgins, known for his leadership and generous support for the Joplin community and Missouri Southern State University, passed away Thursday, April 2.

A graduate of Joplin Junior College, he served as an Air Force pilot during WWII and later as Joplin’s postmaster from 1973-86.

Higgins was a Kiwanis member, a former board member for the Joplin Family Y and Freeman Health System, and helped create the local Children’s Miracle Network chapter. He served as a Cub Scout Master at Irving School, as a member of the Financial Bank Board and helped raise funds for the Eagles News Youth Center. In 1990, he was recognized as Joplin’s Citizen of the Year.

He was a former member of Missouri Southern’s Board of Regents and in 1968 became a founding member of the Lionbackers. In 1974, he was named Outstanding Alum. He served on the Missouri Council on Public Higher Education from 1971-79.

In 2018, he created a $100,000 endowment at Missouri Southern to help registered nurses employed by Freeman Health System continue their professional development with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The Bob & Bea Higgins Nursing Scholarship is designed to create four scholarships per year for RN’s working at the Joplin hospital.

“Bob was a great friend to Missouri Southern as well as to the community at large,” said Dr. Alan Marble, president of MSSU. “He was caring, thoughtful and truly compassionate. He will be missed by everyone fortunate enough to have known him.”