In Memory of John M. Higgins
November 21, 2006 2:50 PM
I got the bad news this morning that my friend and long time colleague B&C’s buiness editor John M, Higgins had just died, felled by a massive heart attack. Higgins was one of those people who was simply bigger than life and under that gruff exterior was the heart of a gentle lion.
Knowing him for 16 years, I found him to be a complex human being. His language on phone calls to sources was so gruff that when he worked for me at Multichannel News, I established a cuss can in the news room. Uttering the f--- word resulted in a 25 cent fee. One day Higgins just crammed a $10 bill in the can, glowering at me, saying that should cover him for awhile.
Higgins, 45, was also a consummate gentleman, always opening doors for women or hailing cabs for them, or escorting them back to their hotels after late evening functions. Actually, he was the kind of guy you would want to be in a fox hole with, knowing that he would look out after your welfare as well as his own hide.
I was broken hearted when he resigned from Multichannel News to take the job at B&C. With his usual aplomb, he gave me a dozen long-stemmed black roses on his last day. However we remained friends over the years and I always respected his finely honed journalistic skills. I loved reporting a story with him, me being good cop, him, obviously bad cop.
Higgins also had a macabre sense of humor. When his own mother passed on several years ago, he showed me a sympathy card that someone had hastily sent, expressing condolences for the death of a pet rather than his mother. The card cracked him up.
Cable industry executives feared a call from Higgins. One cable executive said getting a call from Higgins was like getting a call from “60 Minutes.” Yes, he was tough, but fair and always right on the mark.
Today, is indeed a day of collective mourning for our friend Higgins. I’ve been on the phone all day with his numerous friends now in mourning, all sharing stories about our strong-willed friend. And if you want to share yours, I invite you to comment here and give our pal the strong sendoff he deserves.
He would expect nothing less. He loved being the center of attention, and we loved him for being such a true friend.