Friends, family, city leaders pay tribute to Judge W. Otis Higgs - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Friends, family, city leaders pay tribute to Judge W. Otis Higgs

(WMC-TV) - The funeral for civil rights leader Judge Otis Higgs Jr. was held Friday.

The criminal court judge served the 13th judicial District since 1998.

His little brother says the judge left an indelible mark on all the lives he crossed, and the turnout at his funeral was a testament to that.

Local dignitaries filed into Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church Friday to lay the Honorable Judge Otis Higgs to rest.

"I'm going to miss him in a big way and yet I have his memories in my heart and I will cherish that for the rest of my life," said his brother, Tony James.

Tony James says he did not just lose his best friend and brother, it felt as though he lost a part of himself after Higgs' sudden death last week.

"As a small kid, he couldn't leave the house without me. We talked daily, two and three times a day," said James.

James says they talked about everything, from politics to God.

As a judge, assistant public defender and practicing attorney, James says his brother's walk was one of faith.

"There were people that couldn't pay. He represented them anyway. By the way the world looks at it, he was successful. More importantly, he was successful with God," explained James.

Higgs was also an ordained minister who served at two churches, and the first and only appointed African-American sheriff, so far.

He graduated from LeMoyne Owen College and the University of Memphis Law School.

"I just hope people can remember a very humble person. One who served and one who gave and taught people a lesson on how to progress in life," added James.

Higgs was 75 years old.

He will be laid to rest next to his mother Saturday at 10 a.m. at Calvary Cemetery.

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