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The Indelible Life of a Mechanicville Man

Thomas J. Higgins was mayor of Mechanicville for three terms from 1993-2006. He passed away earlier this week at the age of 82.
(Image source: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mjhiggins/local-m.htm)

Mechanicville is a small town of less than one square mile. The population of this tight-knit community has hovered around 5,000 for the last 40 years or so. While seemingly insignificant to those from larger cities, it’s possible for one man to touch an entire community. Tom Higgins was one such man.

As evident in the hundreds who turned out for the former three-term mayor’s calling hours, not only was known in the local political arena, but he was also known as great man. Crowds of locals braved the cold November evening to pay their respects, first waiting in queue by the south entrance of All Saints on the Hudson South Church then in two seating areas within the church, an effort to minimize people having to wait outside. The Mechanicville Fire Department was in uniform at the wake and delivered a remembrance ceremony to honor the lifelong member of E.H. Strang Hose Co. #3. Many remember the dead-pan jokes that Higgins was known for, as was relayed by his son Tim Higgins during his eulogy.

A 1948 graduate of MHS, the ever-present Higgins was involved in the community for his entire life, in more ways than one, volunteering at the Little League, Assumption-St. Paul CYO, Therapy Dog Institute, and Meals on Wheels. He was also a life long public servant in Mechanicville, holding posts as mayor, commissioner of finance, chairman of the civil service commission, fireman, fire department treasurer, and postal carrier. He also worked for the B&M Railroad and New Country Toyota and Scion of Clifton Park. He was a diehard member of the “Fenway Faithful” as a Boston Red Sox fan as well.

But it is in his family where he will leave his most indelible mark. Higgins is survived by his wife, 8 children, and 14 grandchildren, many of whom permeate the local community as he did. My own father and uncle are full of Higgins family stories from paper routes to Little League, as I’m sure they will tell you. I went to high school with several members of the next generation of Higgins as the family legacy lives on.

Both YNN – Capital Region and WNYT Channel 13 covered the calling hours and produced videos remembering Higgins. The Albany Times Union also covered the passing of the former Mechanicville mayor. Those links, as well as the DeVito-Salvadore obituary are listed below.

http://capitalregion.ynn.com/content/news/706094/calling-hours-held-for-former-mechanicville-mayor/

http://wnyt.com/article/stories/S3224150.shtml?cat=300

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Former-Mechanicville-mayor-dies-4994033.php

http://www.devito-salvadorefh.com/obituaries/Thomas-Higgins2/

 

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