Thomas S. Higgins, Esq.
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January 10, 2014. He was pre-deceased by his loving wife, Kathleen M. Higgins. Mr. Higgins is survived by his beloved children Kathleen Higgins, Esq.; Colleen Quick and her husband, Scott; Thomas Higgins Jr.; Daniel Higgins and his wife, Kristen; Kimberly Klodnicki and her husband, Kenneth; Sean Higgins and his wife, Mary Lou; and Maureen Bergeron and her husband, Brent; and by his brother, Jack Higgins and his wife, Irene. He adored his grandchildren Dylan, Kelly, Katie, Doug, Kenny, Julie, Diana, Brittany, Meghan, Abigail, Richard and Jennifer. He also shared a special relationship with his niece, Christine Frasetto.
Born in 1935 into a rooming home in the city of Camden with his hardworking, Irish-Catholic mother and older brother, Tom survived poverty and illness as a child to eventually work his way through Camden Catholic High School, Saint Joseph's University and Villanova School of Law. While in high school, Tom was the captain of the nationally recognized debate team, was the lead of the school play during his senior year, worked countless hours selling house trailers to help support his family.
In college, Tom was captain of the prestigious Villeger Debating Society, which debated nationally and internationally, competing against Harvard, Princeton, Georgetown, Oxford, Cambridge and the University of India, among others.
In 1960, he was presented the Ralph W. Donges Scholarship Award from the Camden County Bar Association. Along with Jack Mariano (JSC - Ret.), he was appointed as the first judicial clerk for County Judges in the history of Camden County. Shortly after beginning his private practice with Thomas McGuire, Esq., he was appointed Municipal Judge of Gloucester Township at the age of 28. In 1964, he was appointed Assistant County Prosecutor. In 1968, he was selected by the Camden County Democratic Party to run as its candidate for the United States Congress. After losing in the general election, he returned to government service as a Special Deputy Attorney General. In 1970, he, along with Alan Vogelson (JSC - Ret.), successfully ran for Camden County Freeholder.
Tom was a loyal and dedicated member of the New Jersey and Camden County Democratic Party. A trusted friend and advisor to Governor Jim Florio, he served on the Finance Committee for each of his gubernatorial campaigns. During the Florio Administration, he served as vice chairman of the Health Care Facilities Financing Authority, and was one of the chief authors of Governor Florio's successful nomination for the 1993 John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award.
Tom developed an expertise in environmental law and represented the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, the Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority, the Delaware River Port Authority and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. Tom was a skillful litigator and a tireless advocate for his clients and the environment. He participated in the planning, financing and construction of the countywide wastewater treatment facilities in Camden County and countywide wastewater treatment facilities and solid waste facilities in Cape May County.
While serving in these various professional capacities, Tom always focused on helping his community. He took a public-service approach to the law, devoting his particular expertise and diligence to matters that would help people who could not help themselves. As a freeholder, he modernized the burial grounds for indigents at Lakeland. He worked with Alan Vogelson to expand the County Library System, and he worked with Tom Kenney in refurbishing the Courthouse Annex in the place of Lit Brothers.
He was admitted to the United States Supreme Court and was recognized by the N.J. Supreme Court as a Certified Civil Trial Attorney since 1984. He founded and served as managing partner of the Higgins, Slachetka & Long, P.A. law firm and later Higgins & Long, P.A. In 2003, Tom became "Of Counsel" to the firm of Wade, Long, Wood & Kennedy, L.L.C. and served in that capacity until his recent retirement from active practice. Throughout his life, his love for the law remained undiminished.
A successful businessman, he owned the Little World of Learning Child Care Center in Washington Township, was a partner in the Lagoon Restaurant and Lounge in Brigantine, as well as the Laurelwood Liquor Store and Shopping Center in Lindenwold. Tom was an avid golfer and cherished the opportunities to play with his many friends and his beloved wife, Kathy, at Tavistock Country Club, Greate Bay Country Club and the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club in Wellington, Florida.
Relatives and friends are invited to his visitation, Tuesday, January 14, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at
2001 Berlin Road
Cherry Hill, NJ
On Wednesday at 9:00 am, friends and family will assemble at the funeral home for the procession to the church. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10:00 am on Wednesday at St. Andrew the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, 120 United States Ave., Gibbsboro, NJ. Interment will follow at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Chews Landing, NJ. Notes of condolence may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Platt Memorial Chapels, Inc.
2001 Berlin Road
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003-3794
Published in Courier-Post on Jan. 13, 2014