Arthur James “A.J.” Higginbottom, 84, of Bluffton, passed away on Friday morning, Feb. 8, 2019, at his residence in Bluffton.
He was born in Polk County, Iowa, Nov. 30, 1934, to Harry O. and Georgia Satterlee Higginbottom. A.J. graduated from high school in Maxwell, Iowa, and completed his degrees in marketing and economics from Drake University.
A.J. always had a love for animals. Growing up in his youth, he worked in the sale barn and learned the trade of being a blacksmith and wheelwright, a trade his grandfather also worked. He moved to Bluffton in 1976 and worked for Mix Mill and Modern Mill. In 1984, A.J. started his own company, H.M.S. Zoo Diets, and developed his nutritional formulas and the production of specialty foods for many animals at zoos across the country. He had a talent for woodworking, making furniture and cabinets for many of the family members. He attended the First Church of Christ.
A.J. and Janice K. (Miller) were married Dec. 25, 1954, in Elkhart, Iowa.
Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Janice of Bluffton; a daughter, Barbara L. (Scott) Mossburg of Bluffton; a son, Jeffery J. (Kimberly) Higginbottom of Bluffton; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. A.J. is also survived by four sisters, Helen Jacobson of Maxwell, Iowa, Catherine (Bob) Floto of Boise, Idaho, Caroline Lamberti of West Columbia, Texas, and Alice (Arthur) Hubbard of Ankeny, Iowa.
A.J. was preceded in death by his parents and a son, Brian L. Higginbottom.
A service to celebrate A.J.’s life will take place at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the First Church of Christ with Pastor Dennis Wood officiating. Calling hours will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Thoma/Rich, Lemler Funeral Home and for one hour prior to the service on Tuesday at the church. Burial will take place at Elm Grove Cemetery in Bluffton.
Memorials may be made to the Zoological Association of America.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Thoma/Rich, Lemler Funeral Home in Bluffton. Friends can send online condolences to the family at