Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Sad News: Tom Higgins Passes Away at 80

Tom Higgins (Tom Higgins Facebook)
Tom Higgins, NASCAR's first beat reporter, died today at age 80 after complications stemming from a set of strokes over the past 11 months. Higgins was most notable as a motorsports and outdoors reporter for the Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, NC.

Higgins was a recepant of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence in 2015.

The Hall of Fame writer began his professional newspaper career in 1957 at the weekly Canton Enterprise in North Carolina. He began covering auto racing in a later move to the Ashville Times (North Carolina) before landing a sports writer position a the Charlotte Observer in 1964.

He was notable as the first writer to cover every race on the NASCAR schedule during a time when media coverage of the sport was spotty at best. On one occasion, he had 12 bylines in a single issue of the paper and consistently penned four or more stories per issue.

Affectionately known as "Pappy", Higgins time with the Observer spanned 33 years from 1964 to 1997. Known as an eloquent story teller, Higgins played witness to the birth and meteoric rise of NASCAR and stock car racing as a whole with an unwavering passion and brilliant presentation of the sport.

Long time friend and colleague Steve Waid broke the news of Higgins' passing on Facebook.

"Tom Higgins passed away on the morning of July 31 due to complications from a second stroke. He was 10 days away from his 81st birthday. The NASCAR world has lost perhaps its most capable, most honored, most popular journalist and certainly its Master Storyteller.

And I have lost my best friend.

Speaking on behalf of his family sincere gratitude is offered for all of your prayers, thoughts and kind words of sympathy. Tom was blessed to have so many friends.

I will pass along information on funeral/memorial services as soon as it is available.

Farewell, Pappy."

Editor's Note: While I never had the pleasure of meeting or personally knowing Tom, I like so many others read his stories and listened to his perspective on panels and racing magazine shows. He was a true pioneer in motorsports journalism and blazed the trail to which today's great NASCAR beat reporters now travel on today.

Goodspeed Mr. Higgins. Thank you for everything you brought to this world, and thank you for the legacy that you leave behind.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts