Alice Maurine Higginbotham Coulter

Born July 23, 1935

Alice Maurine Higginbotham Coulter Of Gainesville, Virginia; on December 17, 2018

Born July 23, 1935, in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, to Frank Higginbotham and Maurine McIlroy Higginbotham. Alice attended Depauw University and graduated from the University of Maryland (College Park) in 1957. In 1958 she married Alan George Coulter of Chicopee, Massachusetts, and settled in Fairfax County, Virginia, where she worked for many years as an elementary school teacher and school aide. She took great joy – more than most – in choosing birthday and Christmas gifts; the homes of family and friends are full of loving remembrances. She had a magic touch with plants, keeping a garden in her kitchen window and tending a tropical hibiscus at school until it grew almost to the ceiling. She was a genius with the small children in her classroom, and invested all her love in raising her family. Alice took great pleasure in visiting the beach, and in 1988 Alice purchased a second home in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, where she could also savor local history, including nearby Kitty Hawk, the site used by the Wright brothers to test and fly their airplanes. She enjoyed nothing more than a good conversation around her kitchen table. Her storytelling, wisdom, and sense of humor will be greatly missed.

She is survived by her two children, Carol (Joseph) and David (Susan), her nephew Christopher (Katerina), and her sister, Elizabeth (Erasmo). She was predeceased by her husband Alan and brother, Donald Keith Higginbotham. She is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews, and her grandchildren, Emily, Rory, Lauren, Derek, Carson, Piero and Violet.

A memorial service will be held from 6-8pm on Friday, January 11, 2019 at Demaine Funeral Home, 5308 Backlick Rd., Springfield, VA 22151. Services will be held privately at Columbia Gardens Cemetery.


  • Memorial Service Friday, January 11, 2019

Alice Maurine Higginbotham Coulter

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Bob McIlroy

January 11, 2019

Sweet Alice was the protector and purveyor of many treasured family stories, particularly those going back to the early days in West Terre Haute, Indiana. It seemed that almost every time I spoke with Alice, and she had an opportunity to proclaim a family tale or two, there would be a NEW one thrown into the mix. I'd try to make that happen. Her anecdotes had varying heroes and heroines: Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Maurine, Uncle Dick and, of course, my brother's and my father, John Arthur (the youngest of Harry and Gertrude's brood). We were told about Dad's paper route (for which he rode his horse); his expertise at shooting marbles and winning championships; his love of animals (no matter how many or how mangey); and his work on the Manhattan Project during the war...during which our government sent him to the University of Chicago where he met his beloved bride, Irene, at the Officer's Club. My brother and I are deeply grateful to Alice for sharing all of these memories, our favorite being one of the last episodes she related: the time that Dad (I'm assuming he wasn't yet a teenager) was visiting a Terre Haute relative and somehow slid his fine head between a couple of rocking chair slats (maybe he was looking for one of the marble's he'd lost). Alas, he could not reverse the process, soooo...someone located a saving saw. My brother (also Art) put a curious spin on this late arriving legend (received long after Dad died in 1991): "I wish we'd known about that incident BEFORE Dad died." We never had the golden opportunity to "confront" him with Alice's fine reporting.

Alice had a special room in her Heart Sanctuary for familial tales and memories. She was grateful for the stream of strange and wonderful characters the McIlroy clan brought into her life. She also stands out as the last living relative who actually attended Mom and Dad's Chicago wedding in 1945. We will cherish and honor her memory as she has done for so many others.