Judge Otis Higgs remembered by family, friends - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Judge Otis Higgs remembered by family, friends

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Funeral arrangements for Memphis icon and public servant Judge Otis Higgs should be finalized Monday.

Judge Higgs passed away Friday, after a sudden illness. He was 75 years old when he died.

According to his brother Tony James, Higgs began feeling ill after court recessed Friday.

"From what I understand he came home, stated that he wasn't feeling well, and he passed out," said James.

Relatives said Higgs' wife called 911, and rushed the judge to the hospital where he died hours later.

It was a shock that was felt throughout the Mid-South.

During his life time Otis Higgs touched a lot of people through his work in the legal system and as a minister.

Higgs' other roles included being appointed interim sheriff back in the 1990s when the current sheriff committed suicide.

"He's a servant, and being a servant that's what you do," said James.

Higgs was also very active in the fight for civil rights.

When protests and riots broke out after Dr. King was assassinated, Higgs and his law partner Walter Bailey worked to represent the dozens of Memphians arrested.

"He was like a pit bull, he bit on things and wouldn't let go. He believed everybody should have a fair shake," said James.

Higgs also ran for Memphis mayor several times and lost.

His brother said each loss was painful, but Higgs was not the kind of man who gave up easily.

Judge Higgs is survived by his wife Dianne, two children, five siblings and a number of other relatives.

Action News 5 will provide the information on the funeral arrangements as soon as it's available.

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