Obituaries: Terri Higa

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday September 23, 2020
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Terri Higa
Terri Higa

December 25, 1955 — May 5, 2020

Terri Higa passed away suddenly May 5, 2020. Born on Christmas Day 1955 in Hawaii, Terri was an accidental trailblazer — the first woman loader at UPS and one of the first women to open her own car repair shop in San Francisco.

After graduating from LA Trade Tech in automotive technology, Terri apprenticed at shops from Santa Barbara to San Mateo, becoming expert in high-end foreign car/motorcycle repair, fixing Porsches, BMWs and Mercedes Benzes to Deux Chevaux. She worked at gay-owned Cowden Automotive in San Francisco for 11 years, after which she opened Higa Automotive in the South of Market neighborhood, where she became a beloved and indispensable mechanic to the LGBTQ and API nonprofit community for over a decade. Terri spent the last 12 years of her life working in produce at Mollie Stone's natural foods grocery.

Terri was also a social justice activist, taking leadership roles in co-founding the Asian Pacific Lesbian Bisexual Network, Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women and Transgender Community, and O-Musubi and lending support to the Japanese American Citizens League's fight for marriage equality. Enamored with the natural world, Terri studied geology and enjoyed fossil hunting; rock-hounding; exploring and going fishing in national parks. Terri will be deeply missed by all who loved her. A celebration of her life is planned when safe to do so. For more information, please email

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