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Published: Sunday, 1/2/2005

Ex-airman worked as director in labor office

Harold N.L. Liggens, who worked for the Toledo Civil Service Commission in the 1950s and 1960s and later became a regional director for the federal Department of Labor, died of a heart attack Dec. 24 at his son s home in Chicago. He was 78.

Known as Larnell, Mr. Liggens was dedicated to his fellow man and spent his career helping others gain access to equal opportunities.

His commitment to helping others was inspired by the inequities he faced in his own efforts to advance, his son, Sircedrick Liggens, said.

He found a way, his son said.

Mr. Liggens was a personnel technician for the Civil Service Commission for 11 years and was recognized by the city for outstanding civic contributions. He resigned from the commission in 1964 as chief of the examinations department.

Mr. Liggens moved to Cleveland to take a job with Sohio and also taught business mathematics at Cuyahoga Community College.

By the mid-1970s, he was working with the Department of Labor on federal contracts and labor law, his son said. He was director of the regional office in Minneapolis.

He retired from the Department of Labor after more than a decade and returned to Cleveland. He worked for the Regional Transit Authority for five years as an equal opportunity contract compliance officer.

He retired about 15 years ago, his sister, Wanda Jean Green, said.

She said he was a caring man.

He was always helping someone else, she said.

Mr. Liggens was chairman of the board of the Opportunities Industrial Center in Cleveland. He spoke to schools and civic organizations on a wide range of topics. He was a sought-after speaker, his son said.

He was a down-to-earth man despite his accomplishments, his son said.

They don t make them like that anymore, he said.

Mr. Liggens was born in Toledo on Aug. 26, 1926, to Harold and Eunice Liggens. He graduated from Libbey High School and joined the Army and later, the Air Force.

He was proud to be one of the second generation of Tuskegee Airmen and later was vice president of the group s Cleveland chapter. He served as a navigator in a regiment that was stationed overseas and made many runs from his base in the United States during World War II and the Korean War.

After he left active duty, he served in the Army Reserves, retiring as a major in 1986.

He returned to Toledo and graduated from the University of Toledo with associate s, bachelor s, and master s degrees. While in Cleveland, he studied law at John Marshall Law School, which merged with Cleveland State University. He received a doctor of law degree in 1975.

His sister said Mr. Liggens was always seeking information.

There were all kinds of things he tried to learn, she said.

He was a life member of the NAACP, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Delta Phi Delta Law organization, and the Army Officer s Review.

He enjoyed reading, music, golfing, and boating, and was a member of the Catawba Yacht Club.

Surviving are his wife of 46 years, Elizabeth; sons, Sircedrick and Harold; sister, Wanda Jean Green; brother, Melroy; and two grandsons.

Services will be at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in E.F. Boyd Funeral Home, Cleveland, following a viewing at 1 p.m.



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