Virginia Upchurch (Higgins)
Virginia DuVal Higgins Upchurch died peacefully on May 28, 2018 of heart failure, surrounded by her loved ones. She lived a rich and blessed life for 95 years and entered into the arms of her Lord, Jesus Christ. She was preceded in death by her parents, Virginia King Steele and Walter Sayers Higgins, Victoria, Texas; her brother, Walter S. Higgins, Jr., attorney with Vinson & Elkins; her son, Ronald Lawhon Upchurch, M.D. and her loving husband of 53 years, Claude E. Upchurch, retired Chevron attorney. She is survived by her daughters, Martha Upchurch Blecher and husband, Keith, and Molly Upchurch Tipton and husband, John, and grandchildren, Virginia (Ginny) Blecher French and husband, Walker, and great granddaughter, Grace Martha; and Melanie Tipton Lowe and husband, Ian, John David Tipton and wife, Sarah and Mary Elizabeth Tipton, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Virginia was born on October 16, 1922, in Victoria, Texas. After graduating as Salutatorian from Patti Welder High School in Victoria, she attended Sullins College in Bristol, Virginia and graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1943. She loved music and had an extensive musical background. She had her own solo piano recital as a senior in high school and as a second soprano, she sang in the “Vested Choir” and Choral Group at Sullins College, the University of Texas “Sextet” and Glee Club. While in college, she was selected as one of “Six Most Beautiful” by Hollywood Director, Cecil B. DeMille.
Virginia was a fourth generation Texan on both her maternal and paternal sides. Her mother helped organize the Victoria Chapter of The Daughters of the Republic of Texas and was active in the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, organizing the first chapter in Victoria of the Children of the American Revolution. On the paternal side, she was a descendant of Daniel DuVal. In his 1992 book, “Civilizers; The DuVals of Texas”, Roy L. Swift relates how the DuVal family history parallels Texas history as does the Higgins’ history. She was honored with her 70-year certificate by The Daughters of the American Revolution.
Claude and Virginia were married March 11, 1944, in Victoria, Texas, where he was an Air Force Flying Instructor at the Aloe Air Base. He was a pilot instructor at West Point, New York and was the highest ranking officer in Beijing, China, as Captain, when the war was declared over. After the war, they moved to Tyler and Carthage, Texas, where he began his private practice of law. In 1951, he became an attorney with Gulf Oil Corporation and they lived in Fort Worth and Midland, Texas before moving to Houston in 1976. While in Midland, she was Alumnae President of Zeta Tau Alpha, taught Sunday school class at First Presbyterian Church and was active in women’s circle groups and The Minuet Club.
Virginia was a member of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, a 75-year “White Violet” member of Zeta Tau Alpha, 70-year member of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, Lady Washington Chapter, Houston Bar Association Auxiliary and a patron of The Junior League of Houston. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother and loved her Lord Jesus Christ, family, friends, music, cooking, bridge and gardening. The strength of her character and dedication to her family blessed us beyond measure. She leaves behind a legacy of great love and we will always treasure memories of her exceptional beauty, elegance, enthusiasm and radiant smile that could light up any room.
We wish to express our gratitude to her caregivers, Marie Richmond, Krizie Arzate, Bessie Sampson, Brenda Baptiste, Tamara Davis, Shana Riggs and Alicia Riggs. Funeral services will be held in the Chapel of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 2, 2018. A graveside service will be held in the family plot in Oakwood Cemetery in Corsicana, Texas where she will be laid by her husband and son. Memorials may be sent to Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, 11612 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas, 77024 or to the charity of choice.