Phoebe Ryan Higginbotham
April 7, 1919-Jan. 30, 2018
DENTON-Phoebe Ryan Higginbotham, 98, died peacefully in her sleep on January 30, 2018, in Denton, Texas after a brief illness. She was born April 7, 1919, in Denton to Earl H. Ryan and Mary Emma Stuart Ryan, who were from pioneer Denton County families.
Phoebe began her career in education teaching grades 1-3 at Hornsby Dunlap Elementary School outside of Austin. After her children were in school, she was a substitute and taught art at San Jacinto Elementary in Dallas and did graduate study at Texas Woman's University in Denton. The family moved to Carthage in 1959 for James to serve the East Texas Larger Parish that included St. Paul Presbyterian and Presbyterian Churches in Joaquin and Beckville. Phoebe taught fourth grade at Baker Elementary for nine years and did graduate study at Stephen F. Austin State College in Nacogdoches. When she moved to Farmers Branch in 1968 for James to take a position with Dallas County as a Juvenile Probation Officer, Phoebe rejoined Dallas ISD teaching elementary grades at Victor Hexter and Harry Stone. After teaching school for 30 years, Phoebe retired from the Dallas Independent School District in 1984.
Phoebe was predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Rev. James P. Higginbotham and is survived by son, Ernest Ryan Higginbotham and wife, Donna McKay of Dallas; daughters, Patricia Jean Clark and husband, Richard of Denton, Mary Katherine Beal and husband, Frank of Plano; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
After James died in 1999, she moved in 2006 back to the Denton home she grew up in and was able to travel, enjoy family and live alone for the rest of her life.
She grew up on the family farm south of Denton where she resided at her death. She attended Center Point County School and graduated from Teachers College High School in 1936. In 1940 she graduated from North Texas State Teacher's College (now University of North Texas) with a BS degree in Home Economics and a teaching certificate and began working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in East Texas as a Home Supervisor for the Farm Security Administration, a Depression-era program to combat rural poverty. She met her future husband who was a co-worker in Gilmer. After he enrolled at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, James and Phoebe were married on June 30, 1943, at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Denton.
Visitation was held on Friday, February 16, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Mulkey-Bowles-Montgomery Funeral Home, 705 N. Locust St, Denton. Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 17, at Hickory Creek Baptist Church, 5724 Teasley Lane, Denton with burial in the adjacent Old Alton Cemetery with four generations of her family.
Memorial donations may be made to Faith United Presbyterian Church, 12717 Marsh Ln, Farmers Branch, Texas 75234; St. Paul Presbyterian Church, 2000 W Panola St, Carthage, Texas 75633; Trinity United Methodist Church, 633 Hobson Ln, Denton, Texas 76205.
In 1945, James graduated from Seminary, was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and they served Texas churches in Winters, Mabank, Cleburne, Dallas, Carthage and Frisco.
Please leave online condolences at

Sign A Guestbook

Offer a personal message of sympathy...

By sharing a fond memory or writing a kind tribute, you will be providing a comforting keepsake to those in mourning. If you have an existing account with this site, you may log in with that below. Otherwise, you can create an account by clicking on the Log in button below, and then register to create your account.

(0) entries

Sign the guestbook.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.