We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at CFFH
Isabelle Roselee (Emmans) Biggs, Osceola, age 90, passed away peacefully of natural causes on the evening of Saturday, September 17, 2020, at home surrounded by her family. Isabelle was born October 28, 1931, in Mishawaka, Indiana to the late Melvin Emmans and Gladys (Gross) Emmans. On April 16, 1949, she married the love of her life, Carl Edwin (Bud) Biggs. They met at George’s Soda Shop near Beiger School where she worked after school serving ice cream. Carl and Isabelle celebrated 71 years of marriage prior to his passing in 2020.
Isabelle was a lifelong resident of the Michiana area. She grew up on Home Street in Mishawaka. Carl and Isabelle began life together in a small home in Mishawaka on Seventh Street. In 1958, Carl traded that home for a larger one in Osceola with property to have a small farm, sight unseen by Isabelle. The couple nurtured their children and shared in the upbringing of many others over the years on this property. They raised cows, pigs, and chickens along with growing corn and garden vegetables. This is where they spent their final years living with family.
In later years Isabelle and Carl wintered in Florida. Mostly Ocala where she enjoyed the company of her mother and sister and the sunshine! Sitting on the porch with family was a favorite activity. Isabelle learned the trade of tax preparation from her sister and worked alongside side her in winters at Bea’s Tax Service.
Isabelle graduated Mishawaka High School in 1949. She worked briefly at Ball Band/Uniroyal where she exceled playing on the softball team. She would often play sand lot ball at home with her family, neighbors, and friends. She was a great hitter and an all-round tough ball player. Isabelle was an accomplished bowler scoring the perfect 300 on more than one occasion.
Isabelle was brought up in the First Church of the Nazarene and she attended there into adulthood with her family. Later in life she was a member of the Osceola United Methodist Church and East End United Methodist Church. In her last years, Isabelle attended and played the organ at Immanuel Baptist Church in Mishawaka. Carl and Isabelle always found a church to attend while in Florida. They participated in church and community wherever they landed. Isabelle and Carl were generous with their talents and blessings God gave them. Osceola Lions Club Pancake Breakfast is a fond memory of all with Carl cooking and Isabelle serving.
Isabelle grew up in a musical family with frequent jam sessions alongside her mother playing a washboard and spoons and her dad strumming the mandolin. All her siblings played at least one musical instrument. She learned to play the accordion as a young child, hiding in the closet to practice. In adulthood she took up the organ becoming a master organist traveling the country to play and teach. She taught organ locally at Battel Center. She worked selling organs for several years with Hedman Music, among others. Isabelle had a beautiful voice as well. She could set for hours singing and playing or practicing something new. The grandchildren enjoyed setting on the bench with her to participate with all getting lessons. Everyone loved to set with her to listen and sing along to favorite requests.
Along with her musical talent, Isabelle could sew. She, with the assistance others, sewed the wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses for her daughter’s weddings. She loved to bake and make confectionaries especially with the assistance of the grandchildren. Chocolate fudge and popcorn was staple when heading to the drive-in movies with her young family. Thumb print cookies were a favorite of the grandchildren. Her pistachio cake still tops the list at family events.
As a child, Isabelle enjoyed visiting the Hollingshead farm where her father had been “farmed” out as a child. She was spoiled by all there. She told stories of the baby chicks being warmed behind the wood burning stove and her job being to collect the eggs. She loved visiting the Elkhart County Fair with her aunts, biological or adopted, where she was always treated to cotton candy. She attended the 4-H fair throughout her life making sure to enjoy the cotton candy. In recent years, she has enjoyed the chicks and collecting eggs with her grandson.
A dream of Isabelle’s was to have a restaurant. In the early 1960’s, Isabelle, better known as “Liz” in that world, began managing the Coffee Pot restaurant in Osceola next to Menaugh’s Hardware (Osceola Hardware). Bud and Liz managed the Coffee Pot for over 20 years providing work for all her children! Isabelle set an example of hard work, kindness, and good customer service. “The customer is always right,” was her motto. She loved being around people and sharing in their lives. Remembering their names and the details of their lives. The comradery and practical jokes of the regular customers provided pleasant memories throughout her life.
Isabelle worked as a care giver for the elderly into her 80’s. This was much enjoyed by she and her clients. She would entertain them with stories, music, song, and car rides. Her kind soul lent patience and understanding to their later years.
Family always came first. Isabelle was a devout wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, and friend. She went out of her way to help others. She participated in her children and grandchildren’s activities to the end of her life. Isabelle organized and attended many events to keep people connected – Michiana Organ Club, Melvin Emmans Family Reunion, Carl and Isabelle Biggs Family Christmas, gatherings at her home. She rarely missed a family reunion for any part of the family. She sent handwriting cards for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, thankfulness, and encouragement without fail. Isabelle remembered everyone. One grandchild noted, “Every time we would go out some place, gma or gpa always saw someone they knew. It was like they were famous.”
Isabelle led by example. She was strong, smart, funny and could work most of us into the ground. It was most bothersome to her when she could not help with chores although she offered and tried. We have fond memories of her headless pictures, getting lost with her directions, her fear of caterpillars, her love of roughing it camping (NOT), yet she went on the trips with us. Often coming back covered in poison ivy.
Isabelle, Izzy, Liz, Momma, Grandma, Sister, Aunt – your loss will be felt deeply in this world. May the circle be unbroken when we meet again in heaven to hear you sing and play with the angels. Rest in peace. We are coming.
Surviving are her children - Brenda King of Mishawaka, Douglas (Deb Qualls) Biggs of Cassopolis, Glenda Beck of North Manchester, Peggy Biggs of Osceola, C. Edwin (Xiaofang Wang) Biggs, Jr. of Mishawaka; her grandchildren – Jon (Amy) Beck of Avilla, Bobby (Crystal Biggs) King, Jr. of Rochester, Amber (Nick) Snyder of Mishawaka, Jennifer Beck of Fort Wayne, Thomas Biggs of Cassopolis, Ben Portsmouth of England, Brooke (Michelle Gregory) Biggs of Nashville, Jeremiah Biggs-Atkins of Osceola, Zakharyah (Angela Williamson) Biggs of Osceola, Andrew Biggs of Osceola, Micah Biggs-Atkins of Mishawaka, Justin Biggs of Osceola, Katie Biggs of Houston; Qinghao Ma of Mishawaka; 15 great-grandchildren; 5 great-great-grandchildren; sister, Roberta Geminder of Edwardsburg; sister-in-law, Mary Dawson of Mishawaka; many cousins; nieces and nephews; and those who will always be part of the family –Michelle (Tom) Gaby of Mishawaka, Laura Biggs of Osceola, Kristina (Marrese) (Daniel) Stacker of Mishawaka along with many others welcomed as family. Her parents and in-laws; a son, Thomas Kirk Biggs; sons-in-law, Bobby King, Wayne Beck, and Russell Atkins; a grandson, Isaiah; a granddaughter in-law, Stephanie Beck, three brothers – Eugene, Lowell, Delbert; a sister, Beatrice Corey and sister-in-law, Bertie Sue Gunn preceded her in death.
In Isabelle’s honor, donations may be made to the American Diabetics Association or your favorite charity.
Please join us to share in memories of Isabelle and celebrate her life from 2-4 and 5-8 pm October 21, 2022, at Cruz Family Funeral Home in Osceola. Funeral Services will be at 2pm Saturday, October 22, 2022, at the funeral home with visitation an hour before. Interment will follow in Osceola Cemetery.