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Jeff Higgins – Baker City

My two sets of grandparents were very different and it gave me an excellent perspective on life. I know both sides of retirement and I do my best to apply that understanding in my work as an investment advisor.

– Jeff Higgins, Baker City

“Both sides of my family were in Baker for well over 100 years. My father’s side of the family were mostly doctors and ranchers. My mother’s side were ranchers, forest service workers, and businessmen. My great grandfather started the first surgical hospital in Eastern Oregon out in Sumpter. They had the most advanced medical machines because they were serving the miners and more often than not, those injuries were pretty significant. They lived above the surgical theater until my grandfather was six years old. Then they moved to Baker. My great grandfather was a general practitioner for many years, and then my grandfather took over the practice for 50 years. He delivered over 3,300 babies, about a third of the town’s population. Higgins Clinic was established in 1906 and is still stamped in stone on the building that sits across from the courthouse.

My dad was in the military so we moved a lot, but my sister and I spent every summer in Baker with my mother’s parents. Grammy and Papa Beck had met when he was in the Civilian Conservation Corps and he later plotted roads in the Eagle Caps and Blue Mountains for the US Forest Service. They were both retired and Papa taught me how to hunt and fish and cut wood and hike in the mountains. My father’s parents, Dr. and Grandma Higgins, were still running the clinic so we would see them on Thursdays. They’d swing by with the ski boat and a picnic lunch and we’d go to Philips Lake to water ski. My grandfather was also the county coroner so often he’d get a page while we were on the lake and I’d have to drive the boat to shore and drop him off. Then he’d take care of business and come back as soon as he could. Dr. and Grandma Higgins worked well past the typical retirement age while my mother’s parents retired early so I got to spend more time with them and there were always fun things to do. My two sets of grandparents were very different and it gave me an excellent perspective on life. I know both sides of retirement and I do my best to apply that understanding in my work as an investment advisor.

My father traveled all over the country and was in the Korean War. We ended up in Port Angeles, Washington, for five and a half years and then moved to Baker for my sophomore year of high school. I worked as a dishwasher at the Brass Parrot which is now Barley Browns and at Bohn’s clothing store on Main Street. One of the things I remember about John Bohn was that he always left the keys over the visor in his unlocked truck. It was odd to me that you could do that having lived in areas where we always kept our house and cars locked. After graduating from Baker High, I went to Pepperdine University in California and then started a business and stayed down there for 15 years. An opportunity came up to take over a financial business in Baker and I was interested because I already had some clients here. Crystal and I visited for my sister’s wedding and she fell in love with the town. We took one of the horse drawn carriage rides and I said, ‘You know it’s cold here a lot.’ But she was wonderful and said she was willing to try it so we moved here in 2011. We’ve lived in Baker for almost ten years now, but for me it feels like I’ve been here my whole life.”