Diva Elodia Claudia (Schiavoni) Higby, 96, formerly of Girard, passed away on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, at her daughter's home in New York City. Diva was born July 21, 1922, in Trisungo, Italy, the daughter of Antonio and Colomba (Rigolassi) Schiavoni and she was the youngest of a crew of first cousins belonging to five families all living on Washington Avenue in Girard. Immigrating from Italy directly to Girard in 1929, Diva, her mother and siblings joined her father who had done the same five years earlier. The valedictorian of Girard High School Class of 1941, Diva was a graduate of Youngstown College with an Associate Degree in Administration. Post college, she worked full time for a local furrier and spent her evenings at the Youngstown Playhouse where she stage-managed and produced between 1944 and 1952. She returned to Girard from the USVI in 1979 where she became an active member of Unity Church Centre and Women of Unity and worked as a legal clerk first for her cousin Joe Schiavoni and then for Greene, Haines, Murphy and Sciambatti. One of her greatest pleasures of retirement, was performing in nursing homes and hospitals with the Joyful Jesters, a clown ministry of the Women of Unity.
During her years in St. Croix, USVI (1963 – 1979), in addition to being a founding member of Unity of St. Croix, she applied her theatre skills at Island Center, ran an Amway business and worked full time in hotel administration while raising her children. She leaves to cherish her memory, her children, Beecher Higby III. of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and Elsa Higby, (Philip Brady), of New York City, NY, and grandchildren; Ryan Higby, Hannah Neuburger, Per Neuburger, Jan Neuburger-Higby and Ava Neuburger-Higby, and a great-granddaughter, Charlotte Higby. Besides her parents, Diva is preceded in death by her husband, Beecher Paddock Higby Jr., (d.1993), her son, Phillip A. Higby (d. 1965), her sister, Elsa Schiavoni (d. 1935/36) and brother Lionello Schiavoni (d. 2017).
A celebration of her life will be held at Unity Church Centre, 1226 Naylor Lloyd Road, Girard, Ohio on Thursday, December 27th where the family will receive relatives and friends from 10am to 11am. A celebration of her life will begin at 11am. The family and church membership invite you to join them for lunch immediately following the service. Visit www.blackstonefuneralhome.com to view this obituary and to send any condolences to the family.