Saying Goodbye to NoHo’s Michael Higby

Note from the NoHo Arts District dot Com Team. We had the pleasure of knowing Michael for many years and got to see his love for our neighborhood. He was one of a select few who turned his admiration for NoHo into action. For this we are grateful. We will miss you, Michael, our passionate and fair friend. We hope you are stirring things up in your new “neighborhood.”

A post from friend, NoHo resident and business owner, Jack Witt.

I was one of the lucky ones. I got to work with Michael on lots of local community events with the Jaycees (Junior Chamber), and over the years as we got older, I became his friend and coach.

Michael was an eager and motivated civic and community organizer here in the NoHo area. Way back in around 1999 he started the Universal City North Hollywood Jaycees, a leadership and development organization for young adults ages 18-40. The Operation Santa project for deserving children, which is today a staple holiday charity project of the east valley community, is a direct result of Michael’s passion for helping needy kids. When Michael started it, it served maybe 10 or 20 families in the east valley. We would deliver toys on Christmas Eve dressed like Santa and elves. Today, the project has partners like Los Angeles Valley College, and serves upwards of a 100 deserving families each Holiday Season.

Michael was one of the original trail blazers to help turn North Hollywood into the dynamic and trendy NoHo Arts District it is today. He always had a vision and ideas for this local area, and his enthusiasm about it was infectious. He recruited me into community service in 2002, and it’s been incredibly rewarding to be a part of it all… thanks to him.

In 2004, Michael became the 76th President of the California Jaycees. He asked me to write and perform a campaign theme song for him at the state elections convention. I have fond memories of that day. “Michael Higby, he’s the one for you, California President, a Jaycee through and through” !

After his Presidency, Michael started a Los Angeles political blog called “Mayor Sam”. It helped to keep local politicians in check for their actions (or lack thereof) and was even featured on CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer.

In 2010, Michael served on my Board of Directors when I was President of the Universal City North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce during its Centennial year. That’s when I really realized how incredibly informed, smart, creative and forward thinking he was on community, business and civic issues. He was a top advisor and confidant for me that year, and the NoHo Arts District was really coming into full fruition during that year of our service.

Michael became Senior Business Development Manager for SADA Systems, a local IT company that specializes in cloud computing, managed services and consulting. He was a top performer there and helped to grow the company from a few employees to over 100 now.

Michael enjoyed singing karaoke, classic TV sitcoms, calling in and hosting radio shows, the history of the San Fernando Valley and was a very patient, understanding and empathetic person. He had deep faith in God through a very personal relationship, and was a part-time caretaker for his Mom over the past year. She was in assisted living homes after suffering a major stroke. She passed away just a couple months ago.

A couple days before his passing, Michael told me that he wanted to form a “rag tag” group of musicians and performers to go around to assisted living senior homes and cheer up the residents. I would like to carry that vision out for him. If you are interested in joining the group, let me know!

A CELEBRATION of Michael Higby’s life will be on Saturday, May 9th, at 1:00pm at New Hope Community Church. 10438 Oro Vista Ave, Sunland, CA 91040

Here’s lyrics to a song I’ve written and will be performing at his celebration:

Let’s go-to a place where the sun will always shine
Let’s sail-on waters of crystal blue
Let’s walk-through meadows of lovely flowers
Let’s float-on a cloud with a view

I’ll be missing you my friend-until the end of time
But one thing I will do my friend-is always keep you on my mind

Let’s go-to a place where they’re always singing
Let’s sing-every song we always loved
Let’s dance-to the rhythm of a million beating hearts
Let’s soar-on the wings of a dove

I’ll be missing you my friend-until the end of time
But one thing I will do my friend-is always keep you on my mind

Your friend,
Jack Witt, MS, CPT
Fitness and Health Coach “Get Fit with Witt”  

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