Cottonwood’s new tournament director hits the ground running

Jerry Higgins was recently named Tournament Director for Cottonwood Tennis Club.

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Just as the tennis season was about to start, Cottonwood Tennis Club learned that their tournament directors were unable to perform. President Bill Gosiak sent urgent memos searching for a replacement. He was about to divide up the job when former President Nadine Sutter and Barb Jorgenson saved the day. They brought Jerry Higgins into the forefront and convinced him he should volunteer, an event he describes as, “Happily being dragged into the job.”

Barb was familiar with Jerry as tournament director for seven years at Springfield. He hit the Cottonwood courts running, spending hours meeting the people he would work with and introducing himself to people on the courts between games so he would get to know them and how they play. Jerry’s first duties begin with the Leisure World Social followed by the Triple-T.

But let’s go back to the beginning. Jerry got involved with tennis because his daughter Maureen loved it and thought he would also. She was correct. He started playing 20 years ago and played in all the places he lived since then. Although he was new to tennis, he was not new to sports. He was certified as a referee for baseball (40 years), basketball (35 years) and girls’ softball and volleyball (30 years). He’s also certified as a USTA roving umpire which he did for a year. Some of that time, he was also working a full-time job (42 years) as an insurance property claims adjuster for several different companies.

Jerry grew up in Chicago and didn’t leave that area until 1994. He and his wife Barbara first settled in Chandler near Dobson and Pecos. In l998, they moved to Springfield. In 2011, they moved to Orlando, Florida, where their son Michael and his family lived. Then Michael and Luci moved to San Antonio. Jerry and Barbara decided they wouldn’t stay in Orlando and didn’t want Chicago or San Antonio. So they began visits back to Arizona checking out retirement communities (26) from Sun City Grande to Sun Lakes with which they were familiar because Jerry set up socials while in Springfield. When asked, “Why Cottonwood?” Jerry said, “It’s the best of all the communities we looked at, and we found the best house.” They moved April 24, 2018. Jerry joined the Tennis Club and began playing with the Tuesday organized. All of that after two hips and one knee replacement.

When this story appears, Jerry and Barbara will have celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving Day. They are the parents of two daughters and a son, Michael, who was mentioned earlier. Daughter Maureen Wild and husband Mike live in Prescott. Jerilynn Reeder and husband Joe remain in Chicago. Barbara also has a twin sister who lives in Solera. They have six grandchildren.

Although Jerry and Barbara mostly travel to visit family, for Jerry’s 50th birthday, they traveled to Germany where son Michael was then working. They spent two weeks touring. A busy couple.