ROBERT THOMAS FIEGL, SR. & CLYDICE NOMA HIGGINS

 
Robert Thomas and Clydice Noma (Higgins) Fiegl
 
Bob and Clydice Fiegl Family
 
Bob and Clydice Fiegl Family
 
Bob and Clydice 25th Anniversary
 
Bob Fiegl
 
Bob Fiegl with Dan and Ginger, 1937
 
Bob Fiegl
 
Barbara Vosburg next to Bob Fiegl's first car
 
Clydice Higgins
 
Clydice Higgins, senior trip to Thousand Islands, 1933
 
Bob and Clydice Children
 
Bob and Clydice Children
 
Bob and Clydice Family
 
 
Bob and Clydice Children with Spouses
 
 

 

Selected portions of the memorial service for Robert T. Fiegl, held at Houghton Wesleyan Church on May 9, 1996:

On Monday, May 6th, our Savior stood at the right hand of our Father, opened wide His arms and welcomed home His dear son, Bob Fiegl.  We are here with sorrowful hearts of the passing of a friend, the passing of a dear father and grandfather, but we are also here to worship our Lord, for the hope and the knowledge that our dear friend, our brother in the Lord is with Him. 

These are selected Old Testament scriptures that Pastor Hartman gleaned from many that brother Fiegl had marked in his Bible as being his favorites:  Proverbs 3:1-10, Psalms 91: 1-2, Isaiah 41:9-10, Isaiah 43:10-14

Scripture message: Exodus 31:1-6.  Other scriptures: I Thessalonians 1:1-3, Matthew 11:28-30, Luke 9: 23-26, I Peter 1: 3-9, I Corinthians 15:51-58 and Revelation 21:3-7

Bob had left behind a handwritten note to his children and I would to read that note and their response to that note before we go to prayer:  “To my children: I don’t know what worldly possessions I will leave.  This does not concern me so much as the fact that my desire is to leave each of you a good name and a Christian memory of your mother and myself.  My desire for each of you is that you love and serve the Lord all the days of your lives.  I have loved each of you.  I will look forward to seeing each of you and my grandchildren in my Father’s house.  Don’t feel badly because I leave you.  I have lived for this moment.  Many of my friends are with Jesus and we will have a great reunion. Isaiah 41:10 (Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.).

Love, Dad”

Your response:  “Dear Dad, we are proud to be this diverse, interdependent but strong family, grateful to have you and mother for parents.  As we reflect upon our childhood, it was very happy, free and safe.  Whatever you had, you freely shared.  We have lived in love together, shared each other’s gladness and wept each other’s tears.  You and mother loved our children and our spouses as you loved us.  We loved you more for loving them so much.  You have left us far more that worldly possessions.  By your example, your sacrifices, the opportunities you gave us, the values you set for us, the punishment when we were disobedient.  You provided us with the means to achieve, the will to work, a sense of responsibility, the value of learning, satisfaction with work well done, a dependence on God.  We do indeed cherish the Christian memories of you and our mother, your dedication and service to God and our church, your faithfulness in following God’s guidance, purveyed our memories of you both and though imperfectly we do love and serve God.  You have passed onto us a Christian heritage.  The love of God has poured through your lives and encircled us.  Thank you for endlessly protecting and guiding us with your prayers.  Your vision of reunion with us in heaven is reflected in our joy, even in the sorrow, that you are safe with mother, Sandy and with God.  Until we see you again, our memories will be vivid with your unending assistance in so many ways, in acquiring our homes, piano lessens, stories you read to us when we were little, working with you and mother side by side.  We will remember your frequent expression of love.  “What would I do without my kids?  Your old dad loves you.”

Love, your children, your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren.”

Bob left this note behind, written in trembling hand of an aged saint:  “Grace is God’s answer to my hurts, pain and disappointments.  In whatsoever straights I find myself, I will turn to God and still trust in Him.  This has been my relationship with God for 53 years and He has kept me through my joys and through all my hurts.  Praise God for His grace manifested in the life of Bob Fiegl.”

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. – I Corinthians 15:58 

Another note left by Bob:
Dec. 20 1993
To my children:
I sit here at my desk looking out the window watching people come to the Post Office across the St. to get their mail.  So many with cane to steady them up the steps.  They have a job getting out of their cars.  I think these are of my generation, soon I will be along with them for another world.  You may find some day I have passed away.  People will say Bob Fiegl has died.  Don't you believe it.  I have just left to go to my father's house to be with my wife Clydice who is waiting for me.  No more being all alone, no more hurts, no more tears.  God will wipe them all away.
Robert Fiegl
God bless each of you.  I will look for each of you.
 
The following is an article written about Bob at the time of his retirement from Houghton College in 1976:
"ROBERT T. FIEGL became Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds in January of 1950.  On December 31 he'll retire.  In between he's supervised construction of eight campus buildings, been responsible for a $20 million plant and its equipment, landscaping improvements and routine details including helping students build parade floats.  He's also helped many college families secure houses.  He's spent vacations in construction on mission fields - Sierra Leone, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Brainerd Indian School in South Dakota.  Bob is people and service oriented, frequently reminding, "we're only here because of the students." He chaired the local school board for 10 of 20 years' service, also chaired Houghton Academy Board.  He's a bank director, and on the District Board of the Wesleyan Church.  He's a Town Councilman and Chairman of the Town Fire Commissioners.  Even summarizing his contributions to students and community would fill this page.  What motivates him? Commitment to Christ and the practical observation, "someone's got to do these things!""
 
Another article written at the time of Bob's retirement:
"...Commenting at the retirement chapel on his neighbor, ROBERT T. FIEGL, Professor F. R. Stockin said that the "T" stood for "totally dedicated and towering faith."  Houghton's recent current fund campaign noted many of Mr. Fiegl's activities here since 1950.  A native Western New Yorker, he was a farmer and contractor before coming to Houghton.  He and his wife have six children, five of whom attended college here...He was an enthusiastic proponent of bowling lanes, spending many hours of his own time in bitter weather to get the facility operational.  His civic, community and church services are endless."
 
Another article records the following:
"Alumni association past president Priscilla Ries presented a Distinguished Alumnus Award to Robert T. Fiegl, superintendent of buildings and grounds at the college from 1950-76, during the college's faculty/staff recognition banquet on January 15.  Sixteen Fiegl family members were present.
 
In part, the citation read: "As a child he 'rode' one of his father's sawhorses and dreamed of someday being a builder. At age 17 he was running his own crew.  In retirement he says, 'A man spends too much of his life working, to do something he doesn't like'."
 
From the achievements cited, it was clear Mr. Fiegl enjoys many things.  Ms. Ries continued: "He has farmed, contracted the construction of 51 houses, directed the construction of nine Houghton College buildings and, since 1976, supervised construction, remodeling or removal of as many buildings at Marion College.  Eight times he's headed volunteer construction crews on Wesleyan mission fields from Haiti to Sierra Leone and thrice spent summer vacations building at the Brainerd Indian School of the Wesleyen Church in South Dakota.
 
"But he is hardly a gadabout.  He was one of the first to receive the denomination's western New York District Layman of the Year Award. For 20 years he served on the Fillmore Central School board, 10 of them as chairman.  He gave 17 years to the Houghton Academy Board of Trustees, several of them as chairman.  For 17 years he was a director of Citizens Central Bank (Rushford).  He was a Town of Caneadea councilman and chairman of its fire commissioners. And he's attended the same church for 45 years."
 
Associates of the gravel-voiced Fiegl characterized him as: "an excellent judge of character," "practical," "has lots of common sense," "shows a love for people," "generous in helping people without their ever knowing he did it," "efficient and capable," "a friend to pastors," "determined", "able to stick with a decision despite opposition," "always fair," "Christian enough to get angry occasionally...to hammer on the table for things that matter."  Another concluded, "If I called him in the middle of the night with a need, he'd be there, even now."
 
Ms. Ries said Fiegl would be quick to share any credit with "first, the Lord he's served for almost half a century, then Clydice, his wife for 53 years."  One friend called her "the silent partner who plays a strong part in decision making."
 
The citation called Fiegl, "a man of faith," noting: "For months he resisted fellow school board member Willard Smith's efforts to recruit him to work for the college.  At the time Bob owned his own farm and had a thriving contracting business...Eventually their talk turned to compensation.  'We'll pay you top salary, too,' the business manager had added, '$2,000' a year!"
 
In retrospect Bob notes, "The Lord has compensated us with everything we've needed, including good health.  On the farm I probably could never had afforded college for all the children." (Five of six attended here).
 
Ms. Ries outlined several of what Fiegl thought of as challenges during his Houghton career, among them: "construction for the water system, installation of campus underground electric service, layout of the tennis courts, alumni an Stebbins fields and helping 45 faculty and staff members build homes at little above cost."
 
She continued, "Bob has been strongly motivated by Houghton's young people, both because of their potential and for their enthusiasms.  Creating an adequate recreational facility for them is one reason he agreed to superintend construction of the physical education center in 1979."
 
Now retired, Fiegl is still on the on the church district camp board, of which he is a charter member.  He's built several houses in the last few years and he walks three miles a day. "I don't feel much different than I did 40 years ago."  Ms. Ries concluded, "We could spend an evening recalling seeming miracles which have attended Mr. Fiegl's efforts, ranging from material acquisitions to tasks completed despite adversity.  Certifiable miracles there may have been, but behind each has been Bob's own intercessory prayer, foresight, boldness and unstinting investment of personal energy and money.  Tonight Houghton College recognized Robert T. Fiegl as a builder in the broadest sense, as a loyal friend, and as a Christian example." (All faculty and staff are considered to be alumni.)
 
Fiegl Genealogy
1930 census  
Fiegl Family Cemeteries
 

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