In Remembrance: Boise man had an outgoing personality

Idaho StatesmanFebruary 25, 2007 

Hubert "Bert" Higgins never retired. He worked until his death, Feb. 15, at age 84.

He was a man who had hailed from humble beginnings in the logging industry of Idaho and went on to become a successful, hardworking insurance agent with his namesake company, Higgins and Rutledge Insurance Agency, located on Americana Boulevard in Boise.

Although he'd given up most of the major accounts to his oldest son Rod, Higgins took pride in his contributions at the company later in life, which included picking up and delivering mail at the post office.

"He had a little canvas bag. He'd put the mail in the bag and would (later) sort the mail," said daughter Gretchen Mullins of Boise.

When Higgins went to drop off the outgoing mail, he'd bypass the long lines of people waiting with packages, and drop off his mail to a USPS representative. "People (in line) would grumble," said Mullins. "But the (post office workers) would say, ‘Thanks Bert. See you tomorrow.'"

Mullins admits she inherited her father's "gift of gab," and friendly, warm personality.

"We always teased him about how he never knew a stranger," she said. "I find that I'm a lot like him. I can't stand in a grocery line without talking to people. Sometimes it drives my husband and son crazy."

But it was this outgoing demeanor that allowed Higgins to network with other local folks. He was a founding member at the Crane Creek Country Club, and other insurance and Christian organizations.

"My dad firmly believed in customer service before it was fashionable," said Mullins. "He would say, ‘You have to treat them well, with respect. If you're good to your customers, they'll be good to you.'"

Although he worked all his life he was a good husband and provider for his family, which included Ruth, his high school sweetheart and wife of 63 years and their four children.

"He was a devoted family man," said Ruth Higgins. "He worked hard and played hard." He also liked to tell stories — some of which you knew you could believe and others that were more entertaining than true.

He told stories about growing up in Idaho, his Army Air Corps days during World War II and many of the jobs he had worked. He even boasted that he was a descendent of Peg Leg Annie Morrow of Atlanta, who ran a "house of ill-repute" during the Prohibition years, according to Mullins.

"That's the way my dad was. You couldn't come into contact with him without having your life changed," said Mullins.

In Remembrance is a weekly profile of a local resident who has recently died. Contact West Ada news assistant Monique Bosolet at mbosolet@idahostatesman.com or 672-6716.

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