Tom Higley, well known Amarillo newsman and photographer, passed away on November 27, 2022. Memorial services are scheduled for Thursday, December 1, at 2:00 pm at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church with the Rev. Jared Hauze and the Rev. Jo Roberts Craig officiating. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall. Arrangements are under the direction of Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors.
Thomas Carlton Higley was born February 7, 1938, in Childress, Texas to Morris Thomas and Carol Amacker Higley. He graduated from Childress High School in 1956. After graduating from Amarillo College with a degree in photography, he then studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and North Texas State University.
Tom and Brenda Anne Keel were married in 1961. The couple recently celebrated their 61st anniversary.
Tom was an active member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and served as church photographer. His St. Andrew’s family was a special part of his life.
Higley began a 35-year news career in 1960 as editor of The Childress Index. From 1965-1976, he was an integral member of KGNC Radio and TV (now KAMR-TV) as chief photographer, political director, editorial, and assistant news director. He always remembered his most exciting news event to cover was the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, “working alongside my life mentor Dick Risenhoover and watching history unfold before my eyes!”
Following 11 years in TV, Higley joined country artist Mel Tillis in building KIXZ-KMML news into a staple for Amarillo listeners.
In 1986, returning to the newspaper business, he purchased the Sayre (OK) Journal and the Hollis (OK) News in partnership with his father. After his father’s death in 1995, he co-published The Childress Index.
Higley was inducted into the Panhandle Press Association Hall of Fame in 2002, having had served as president of the organization for two terms. In 1996, Higley was inducted into the Texas Panhandle Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He served as president of the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters in 1984. The Texas Medical Association awarded him the 1984 Anson Jones Award for excellence in health reporting.
Active in civic affairs, Higley was a member of the Rotary Club of Amarillo, with nearly 50 years’ perfect attendance, and was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow. He served as President of the Sayre (OK) Rotary in 1994. Higley served as a director of the Tri-State
Fair Board for 30 years and was past president of Catholic Family Services. He served as director on both Texas AAA and Panhandle Plains AAA for two decades.
Since retiring in 1998, Higley returned to his first interest – photography. His work, capturing Southwest venues and outstanding views found in his travels, was exhibited throughout Texas and New Mexico.
Nothing brought Tom more joy than time with his “girls” — his wife, two adored daughters, and three precious grandgirls.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Carol Clem Blackburn.
Higley is survived by his beloved wife and partner, Brenda; two daughters and sons-in-law, Carla and Danny Holeva of Midland, and Paige and Mike McKay of Lubbock; three granddaughters, Emily Holeva of Midland, Madeline McKay of Denver, and Lily McKay of Lubbock; sisters and brothers-in-law Rita and Larry Evans of Childress and Sharron and Glenn Wallace of Brady; two godchildren, Shawn Stone of Edmond, OK, and Maxwell Adamchak of Amarillo; as well as multiple nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1601 South Georgia, Amarillo, TX 79102 or a charity of one’s choice.