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July 2015

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70 Years of Service

Frank Higgins began his 43-year career at Commonwealth Edison when he was hired as a switchboy on August 29, 1933. His uncle and an acquaintance strongly encouraged his application earlier that summer.

After initially working part time, Frank decided he wanted to further his career and landed a full-time job in the service and repair department. Eventually he became one of the original IBEW union members at Commonwealth Edison in 1945. As a member of Local 1399, he worked as a dispatcher in appliance and wiring. In 1958, Frank was transferred to Chicago central headquarters. He was then transferred again to Local 1367, working in load dispatching. In February of 1976, after 43 years of service, Frank Higgins decided to retire and spend more time with his wife Alice and their two children, Jim and Mildred.

Brother Higgins became a retired member of IBEW Local 15 after the 1994 amalgamation of the original 17 locals into one — Downers Grove Local 15.

In March of 2015, Local 15 President/Business Manager Dean Apple and his staff began searching for Brother Higgins to award him with his 70-year pin after IBEW International President Ed Hill informed Apple of this milestone.

On March 9, Local 15 staff was able to contact an eager Jim Higgins, Frank's son. In the past, Frank had expressed an interest in "re-creating" his history as a ComEd employee. Before he got started on the task, his health had begun to fail and Frank was under hospice care.

On March 11, President Apple planned to present Frank with his 70-year pin, as well as his company records. Unfortunately, Local 15 received word from Frank's family that he had passed away the Tuesday prior. Jim accepted Frank's 70-year service pin, certificate and ComEd records on his late father's behalf. In addition, he was presented with an IBEW watch from Local 15. Jim told President Apple how proud Frank was to be a union member for 70 years.

"He lived a good life," Jim stated. As an "A" member, Frank also received a small pension from the international office.

Frank was married for 72 years to Alice. In addition to children Jim and Mildred, the couple also had two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Frank loved baseball and volleyball, playing well into his 80s. Frank's nickname, not surprisingly, was Happy. Frank was 101 years old.

Doug Vedas, Local 15 press secretary
Downers Grove, Ill.



Frank 'Happy' Higgins

IBEW_Facebook  From Facebook: Every month the IBEW Facebook page receives thousands of comments from our dynamic and engaged community of members and friends.

Ed Hill: 'The Definition of Leadership'

On behalf of Local 229, our best wishes for a long, healthy, and happy retirement. Thank you, President Hill, for your gutsy leadership and your willingness to institute policies that are necessary but unpopular. It's always been evident that you have the best interest of the IBEW at heart and made the tough decisions when necessary. That is the true definition of leadership.

Matthew Paules, Local 229 member
York, Pa.

Thank you, President Hill, for your leadership in the IBEW and for supporting the FEMALE wiremen. I remember the day you said to me, "The glass ceiling, Kathy? What is that?" many, many years ago when I co-chaired the Women's Caucus. I am so proud I had the opportunity to work with you when you were Third District VP.

Kathy Buhalo, Local 380 member (now 98)
Philadelphia, Pa.

Thank you, President Hill, for all that you have done. We at Local 2366 wish you nothing but the best in your retirement.

Rocky Maas, Local 2366 member
Lincoln, Neb.