Paul Higbee


“Following Our Heart”
Words and music by Leonard Running
with Mrs. Kellogg’s 5th Grade Class
©2017 Leonard Running

 

      Paul Higbee

We are gathered at this time with our thoughts and words aligned
And our melodies and rhymes and our laughter.
It’s a little song we sing for Paul Higbee’s honoring
Of his life so far and life that might come after.

From Paul’s first fine days out in Ioway
Till he was a Hills resider
Besides playing in the sun, young Paul’s way of having fun
Was to practice to become a writer.

Once a teacher that Paul liked came and asked him if he might
Imagine and then write a story.
And his story was so good that the teacher thought he should
Write another if he could (not mandatory.)

And a goofy guy comes to Paul’s mind’s eye
Who could glide through a nail biter.
And that’s how Paul Higbee penned an imaginary friend
And a middle and an end to be a writer.

So now in these later days Paul has written books and plays –
Five of fact, another one of fiction.
Through his writing he will serve up the adjectives and verbs
That will help to feed your word addiction.

And he says that we have abilities
That can help us see things brighter.
And by following our heart any path that we can start
We should be at least in part, a writer.
And by following our heart any path that we can start
We should be, at least in part, a writer.


Paul Stanford Higbee was born December 17, 1953 in Orange City, Iowa to Marion and Walter Higbee. Being the oldest of two brothers, Scott and Rand, and one sister, Susan, gave him the pleasure of “calling the shots,” which he absolutely LOVED! In later years, his mom and dad adopted two twin girls, sisters Rebecca and Elizabeth, whom had captured their hearts.

When he was young, he enjoyed having outdoor adventures, especially with his dogs. Orange City was a fun place to grow up. He was never lonely because he always had his siblings to play with. He also lived in Minnesota and Nevada and felt that moving to new places was always an opportunity to make new friends. He said he was very “laid back” as a child and did not worry about too much. However, witches were one thing that frightened him. In fact, he thought the witch from the Wizard of Oz was hiding under his bed, waiting to gobble him up!

Paul loved school and his favorite subjects included history, reading, and writing. In fifth grade, his teacher, Mrs. Stevenson, recognized his love and talent for writing. She let him write and share a funny story about a memorable character named “Norman” every Friday for his classmates. Every week, the students looked forward to “Norman” stories.

Paul dreamed of playing for the Minnesota Twins baseball team. However, at age 12 he realized he did not have those skills. He took one day at a time, knowing he would find his path in life.

Paul attended college at the University of Notre Dame, earning a master’s degree in writing in communication, which led him to a career in creative and informational writing.

Paul has written for South Dakota Magazine for 30 years. This has brought him enjoyment because he loves to interview people and write about the history of Western South Dakota.

Paul married the love of his life, Janet Junek, 40 years ago. They have two daughters, Julie and Kelsey, and one grandson named Kirby. He is extremely proud of his family. When asked what his greatest accomplishment is in life, he claimed it was raising a good family and writing.

Paul wrote the play “Phantom of the Opera House,” which is performed every July in Spearfish at Matthews Opera House. He has published books and writes for South Dakota Public Television. Years ago, he began writing on his typewriter. Kicking and screaming, he later transitioned to writing on a computer.

Paul described his two favorite places were Australia and the beautiful Black Hills. When he traveled to Australia, he was impressed when he saw how huge the iguanas were. They were like little dinosaurs! To his surprise, there were thousands of wallabies, which are small kangaroos. This was definitely an outdoor adventure.

Paul’s advice for our class was to appreciate school because it is a great opportunity. Find a subject you enjoy and have a good attitude about the ones you do not. Do not ever let fear stop you from following your dreams! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!


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