Patricia G. Derling

May 21, 2020


Beloved spouse, sister, aunt, and friend to many, Patricia G. Derling, left us too soon on Thursday, May 21, 2020, following a courageous fight against many health challenges. Patti truly enjoyed life, giving love, care and support to many, always dressed “in style.” Patti graduated from Snyder High School in Jersey City and received a bachelors degree from Jersey City State. For 33 years, she was a Special Needs Teacher in Union City, NJ, where she taught students of many ages. A countless number of students, whose lives she impacted, have remained in contact with Patti during her retirement. In her downtime Patti was an artist, whose talents were showcased through her many drawings and handmade jewelry, which she gave as gifts and sold to the public. At her core, Patti loved animals. She took much pride in fostering and acclimating puppies with her own dogs, in preparation for adoption into their forever homes. At the time of her passing, four cats and two dogs, have permanent residence in her home, where they receive much love and care; appropriately, five out of six are “special needs” themselves. Their living situation will remain unchanged, outside of the daily love they received from Patti. 

Patti is survived by her spouse of 25 years Douglas Higgins, sister, Susan Thorn, nephew, David Thorn, his father, Dave Thorn, as well as many cousins including Harry Mitchell and cousins from the Patrizio and Day side of the families. She is also survived by many close friends, including Pamela Price, her longtime friend of 45 years. Patti is predeceased by her mother, Antoinette Freeland, father, Frederick Derling, and stepfather, William Freeland. 

Patti will be laid to rest, Friday, May 29, at Graceland Cemetery in Kenilworth. A private service, due to current health and safety concerns, will be held at Higgins & Bonner Funeral Home in Westfield. A celebration of her life will happen at a later date. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Patti’s memory to: 
Companion Critters, Inc 
P. O Box 5883 
Clark, NJ 07066

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