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Former Party Leader Hailed As Helper

Attorney, political leader and businessman H. Henry Higgins was remembered Friday for his interest in Spokane’s youth.

Higgins, 66, died Sunday and was buried Friday after a funeral service at St. Aloysius Church.

An attorney with offices in Spokane and Wilbur, “Hank” Higgins branched into real estate in the early 1960s. He developed bowling alleys and restaurants around Spokane, including the Silver Lanes and Scrapbook Pizza.

He got his start in politics by helping his cousin run for Congress. The year was 1964. His cousin was his former law partner, Tom Foley.

Higgins was the first person Foley called when he made a lastminute decision to run. Together they drove to Olympia on the final day candidates could file for office. The car ran out of gas, and Higgins helped Foley push the car to the state Capitol to beat the deadline.

“He liked to talk politics and debated them vigorously,” Foley said. “He had a great sense of justice and fairness, coupled with a healthy skepticism of government.”

Higgins led the local Democratic Party from 1966 to 1968, then ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in 1970.

But the large, gregarious Irishman made his biggest mark on Spokane with youth sports, friends said.

“He was a great believer in Spokane’s young kids,” Jack Stockton said of his longtime friend, who coached youth football and softball for more than 20 years. “Everybody liked him. You’ll never hear anybody say anything bad about him.”

The Rev. Robert Goebel, a longtime Gonzaga Prep administrator, called Higgins “a tower of strength” who quietly donated money to cover tuition for needy students.

“He was very much a behind the scenes kind of guy. He hleped kids and no one would know,” Goebel said.

Higgins was born in Spokane and grew up in Hartline, where his father operated the Farmers Union Grain Co. He graduated from Gonzaga Prep, Gonzaga University and GU Law School.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou, a daughter, a son and three grandchildren.

, DataTimes

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