Inducted November 7, 1981
‘Jimmy’ Higgins who became a legend in his own time and whose memory is enshrined in the hearts of all Newfoundlanders was the exemplary embodiment of a selfless community-minded spirit in action. The range of his involvement in the life of the City of St. John’s in both community affairs and the sports sphere spans a lifetime of dedicated service. The scale of his popularity knew no bounds. It was said of him that “he never lost the common touch”. While his association with athletics was preponderantly in an administrative capacity he was, nevertheless throughout his formative years, actively associated with many disciplines. During his school days at St. Bonaventure’s College he was a member of that institution’s inter-collegiate hockey and soccer teams and also represented his school as a member of their rowing crews at the Annual Regatta.
On leaving school he articled for Law and simultaneously involved himself in the administrative side of our Annual Regatta. All the while continuing as an active oarsman. For many years he served as ‘stroke’ in the Amateur race for a group of oarsmen known as ‘Higgins’ Crew’. When in 1936, interest in the Annual Regatta began to wane perceptively, Jim Higgins among others, was responsible for rekindling interest in our annual Derby Day. The ‘Day of the Races’ had exceedingly successful years under his Presidency which spanned the period extending from 1939 through to 1961.
James D. Higgins passed to his reward, October 10th, 1974, the day following his installation as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Newfoundland Sports Hall of Fame.
In a tribute of his memory the Evening Telegram of October 12th, 1974 stated inter alia: “Jim Higgins was one of a special breed, a real St. John’s man and an honest-to-goodness Newfoundlander. Genial, approachable, witty, a born story-teller, educationist, athlete and sports enthusiast, able lawyer and compassionate judge…the list of his activities and achievements is truly impressive. He was and indeed will ever be a Newfoundland legend.”