Tahlequah Daily Press


June 5, 2014

Benjamin Kenichi Higa

TAHLEQUAH — Services for Benjamin Kenichi Higa will be held on Friday, June 6, at 4 p.m., at the First Baptist Church of Tahlequah, with Pastor Buddy Hunt officiating.

Pallbearers for Ben include his stepfather, James Smith, his dad, Robert Higa, Jonathan Smith, Jeremy Smith, Elmer Huber, and Chris Handle. Honorary pallbearers are Sam Smith, Sean Sales, Luis Sales, Sergio Sales, Joshua Kulic, Joey Smith, Jason, Smith and Daniel Blake.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, June 5, from noon until 5 p.m. at Reed-Culver Chapel. Online condolences for the family may be left at www.reedculver.com.

Benjamin Kenichi Higa was born on June 28, 1989, in Redlands, Calif., the son of Robert Higa and Cynthia “Bryn” Otterness-Smith. He attended school and graduated from Salinas High School in Salinas Valley, Calif.

Benjamin, or Ben to his many friends, was always a happy person. He had a smile that would light up any room he was in. He was an avid sports enthusiast and loved to watch baseball (the Cubs were his favorite(; football (there was no team better than OU and the Bears); Chicago Blackhawks hockey; and basketball was the Thunder and the Bulls.

He had a deep love of music and sang his heart out to such tunes as “I’d Like To Sing and Dance,” the “Bear Necessities of Life,” and “It’s a Small World.”

He was witty and quick with banter and dearly loved to share in whatever conversation was going on around him.

Ben was a Christian, cut and dried. He often told his family and friends that “Jesus sure does love me!” Whenever he was faced with another surgery or around others in the hospital, he often offered to pray with them, or introduce them to his Jesus. He never gave himself a thought but went out of his way to comfort those around him. He wanted to make sure that everyone knew the Lord and savior he loved and served all of his life. He drew great strength from attending church and never missed a chance to worship at church. He possessed an amazing amount of compassion for someone who was so deserving of compassion himself. There was a light in his eyes that showed people he loved them and that he was under the protection of his loving God.

He adored his family dearly. There was nothing better for him than a cuddle with his mom and a laugh shared with his Daddy Jim. His heart was large and his love even larger, but his body was limited.

The Lord brought this wonderful and kind man home to his eternal reward on Monday, June 2, at his home in Tahlequah. Ben had only lived upon this earth for 24 short years, but he made every one of those years count.

Everyone who knew him has been blessed by a very special angel of mercy, and we’re all a little better for Ben’s company on this earth.

Ben is preceded in death by his paternal grandparents.

Those left to cherish his memory include his Mom and his Daddy Jim, James and Cynthia “Bryn” (Otterness) Smith of Tahlequah; and his father and stepmother, Robert and Chantal Higa of Riverside, Calif. He leaves his grandparents, Sam and Ann Smith of Spring Lake, Mich., Terri Otterness of Tahlequah, and Sanford and Jeannie Otterness of San Jacinto, Calif. His aunts and uncles include Cassandra Kulic of Loma Linda, Calif., Tamera and Larry Loera of Loma Linda, Calif., Janni and Sergio Sales of Mexico City, Mexico, Joey and Erica Smith of Puebla, Mexico, Jonathan Smith of Colorado Springs, Colo., David Cates of Seattle, Wash., Matthew Cates of Colorado, and Drew Cates of California. Ben also leaves a foster sister and nephew, Ariel McCormick and her son Levi of the home in Tahlequah, as well as many cousins and friends and acquaintances who consider themselves blessed for his friendship.

In lieu of flowers, his family asks that you consider honoring Ben with a donation to Christ for Me, P.O. Box 1694, Tahlequah, Okla., 74464.

Reed-Culver Funeral Home, 117 W. Delaware, 918-456-2551.

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