Richard Calvin Higgins of Orchard Park, an executive for 50 years in his family's heavy construction contracting business, Higgins Erectors and Haulers, died Dec. 30 in Fox Run, Orchard Park, after a short illness. He was 89.
Born in Buffalo, he was a 1937 graduate of Amherst High School and attended the University of Michigan. He served in World War II as a lieutenant in the Army Signal Corps.
He returned to rejoin the family business, where he began working when he was 16. On one of his first jobs as a teenager, he climbed to the top of Buffalo's Liberty Pole before the company removed it to make way for construction of Memorial Auditorium.
The company provided rigging and heavy hauling for industrial and construction projects. Founded by his grandfather in 1890, it did work on everything from the building of the Pan American Exposition to raising the roof on the Aud. With his can-do approach and his emphasis on engineering, Mr. Higgins expanded the company far beyond its headquarters on Perry Street.
At its peak, the company had offices in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Rochester and Syracuse and provided services in hauling large and irregular industrial and construction items, primarily in the eastern U.S. and Canada. Mr. Higgins retired in 1990. The company closed in 2002.
Mr. Higgins had numerous professional affiliations. He was a past president and a director of the Construction Industry Employees Association, and he served on the boards of the National Erectors Association and the Heavy and Specialized Carriers Association.
He served two terms on the Orchard Park Board of Education and was an elder at the Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, where he also taught Sunday school.
He was a former director of the Buffalo Club and the AAA of Western and Central New York. A member of the Orchard Park Country Club for more than 60 years, he also served on its board of directors.
Mr. Higgins was a 50-year member of Zion Lodge 514, Free & Accepted Masons, in Orchard Park, and a past potentate of Ismailia Shrine. He also was a member of the Buffalo Kiwanis Club.
He also served on the boards of directors of Millard Fillmore Hospital and the Lahey Clinic in Bosto, which treated his late son, Douglass.
Surviving are his wife of 65 years, the former Ruth Elizabeth Smith; and two sons, Richard C. Jr. and Robert W.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Feb. 5 in Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, 4369 S. Buffalo St., Orchard Park.