Harrison, Nan Higdon, 2010-2011 HFA President

Nan Higdon Harrison

Nan Higdon Harrison of Michigan The first of three daughters born to Rachel Moore McKey and Walter Q. Higdon, Nan Higdon Harrison arrived in Ducktown on a cold January day. Her parents named her for both her paternal grandmother, Mary Elmira Arp and her maternal grandmother, Nannie Elmira Holder McKey. And so Nan's life began in Copperhill, Tennessee.

Following graduation in the first graduation class of Copper Basin High School, she attended Salem College in Winston-Salem, N.C. After two years she transferred to the University of Tennessee from which she , as her father would have said, "matriculated to the real world." Nan began as a fashion copy writer at Miller's, a department store in Knoxville. From there she moved to Atlanta and began work at Davison's, a division of Macy's. She quickly moved from writing "basement copy to assistant copy chief and fashion promotion writer.

While at the University of Tennessee, she had met Fred Harrison. In December, 1965, they were married which required a move to south Alabama. Fred was involved in building a pulp and paper mill in Jackson. In 1968, they transferred to Kalamazoo, Michigan so Fred could attend graduate school and work full time! Their daughter, Karen, was born soon after their move. Two years later, their son Geoff arrived.

At one time Nan and a partner represented the Doncaster company, a producer of custom made clothing. She has also served on the board of Arvco Container and worked as the volunteer coordinator for the YWCA. Currently, Nan and Fred are involved in a manufacturing company that designs and builds finishing equipment for the corrugatd box industry. Nan serves as Vice President of Support Services.

Last fall Nan and Fred were inductd into a trade association's, Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC), Hall of Fame. They have the distinction of being the first couple and Nan is the first female in the 25 years of the award.

Nan says her experiences as a volunteer have been most enriching. She is a past president of the Kalamazoo Branch of AAUW and served on the Michigan State board as well. She served as president of the Junior League of Kalamazoo and later on the Association's Area Council. While president of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, an arts complex was developed called the Epic Center or Kalamazoo Cultural Center. She still serves on that board as well as Ballet Arts Ensemble, a youth ballet troupe. In addition Nan chaired the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts juried art fair for 4 years. She also served on the Gull Lake Country Club Board.

Nan was always involved with the children and their activities, serving as a Girl Scout leader and other volunteer activities. She and Fred had the wonderful opportunity to serve on the Miami University Parents Council with Nan elected president of that group for a year. Her involvement with a primary trade association has included their Long Range Planning Committee, some other committees and annual trips to Washington, D.C. to encourage legislators to support manufacturing in the U.S.

An avid tennis player, both she and Fred enjoy skiing and biking... a great way to see the country. They also enjoy the theatre, jazz, movies, museums and libraries. She also tries to maintain a regular exercise program. (Gotta keep up with these grandchildren!) 

You will find more information at Nan Higdon Harrison’s Obituary.

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