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HIGGINS ROBERT LOUIS HIGGINS "Bob" Robert Louis "Bob" Higgins, 93, distinguished veteran of World War II and former executive vice president of the National Electrical Contractors Association, died May 14, 2012, of a heart attack following surgery in Shady Grove, Maryland. Born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1919, he came of age on the eve of World War II and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1941. He was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, who were dropped behind the German lines during the Normandy Invasion, shortly after D-Day. Higgins was one of the survivors of the Siege of Bastogne in Belgium, the turning point in the Battle of the Bulge, the war's last major conflict. Bastogne was a crucial strategic point since all of the major roads in the region literally ran through it. The Nazis surrounded the town and its American defenders on Dec. 17, 1944 and demanded surrender. The American commander replied, "Nuts" and his troops, including Higgins, held off Hitler's Panzers for 9 days until reinforcements from General Patton could arrive. Higgins was awarded a Bronze Star and the 101st Division was given a special citation for valor by General Eisenhower for holding the city. Returning home to Youngstown, Ohio in 1946, Higgins met and married Carol Geary and enrolled in Ohio University and earned a BS in electrical engineering. After graduation, he joined NECA and remained with them for 37 years, rising to executive vice president in 1965, a position he held until his retirement in 1986. In this capacity he negotiated and dealt with top members of organized labor, Congress and the White House. He also co-founded NECA's Academy of Electrical Contracting in 1968. His passions included his love of family and his strong Christian faith. He was also an avid golfer and a long time member of the Bethesda Country Club. He is survived by his wife, Carol, and four children, Robert Jr., Melinda, Geary and Mark, nine grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. A private memorial service was held at 4th Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, MD on May 24, 2012. His ashes will be interred at Arlington Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project in his honor. The date of the interment ceremony will be posted on the DeVol Funeral Homes website.
Published in The Washington Post on May 27, 2012