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friends and former colleagues bid farewell to alderbroad TM Sue Higgins was opinionated, outspoken and no-nonsense to the very end. Even while making funeral plans, Calgary's "alderbroad" was giving good friend and former mayor Dave Bronconnier "specific instructions" on the eulogy he would deliver and even what to wear that day. "She said, Remember, I'll be there watching you,'" Bronconnier said, prompting soft laughter Saturday at a funeral mass for Higgins, who served as alderman for southeast Calgary for 21 years. Family members and members of council lead the way out as a large group of friends and family were on hand to help say farewell to former Alderman Sue Higgins on Saturday at St. Cecilia's Roman Catholic Church to bid Higgins farewell. Higgins, who was battling lung cancer, died on Feb. 16 surrounded by family in the hospice where she had spent the last 16 months. She ran for mayor in 1983, losing to the late Ralph Klein, but won re-election three years later and served on council until 2001. In her years on city council, Higgins was known as someone who combed through budgets line by line. Former alderman Bob Hawkesworth said it was Higgins who got him interested in "good governance, looking after the bottom line, being concerned about how money is being spent and value for money" after she gave him an orientation on budgets and audits when he first joined city council. Hawkesworth was quick to point out that beyond her reputation as a fiscal hawk, "there was a kindness there that I'll always remember and treasure." She often engaged in heated debates with colleagues, something former mayor Al Duerr remembers well. Duerr recalled the days when Higgins - whom he described as "a stickler for procedure" - challenged him every third council meeting on a procedural matter. "With Sue, every day was an adventure." said Duerr. "It was just refreshing to have an opportunity to work with someone like Sue and I'm better for it, and I think everybody she touched was better for knowing her." Before Higgins quit smoking two years ago, she was often seen with her trademark cigarette holder in hand. She was also famous for her memorable quotes and colourful language, unafraid to drop the occasional expletive. Politics held a huge place in her heart, but Higgins always put her daughters Suzy, Lyn and Maureen first, Bronconnier said, and she doted on her grandchildren and niece. She insisted on keeping on top of the news of the day, even as her health declined. When the June floods hit Calgary, Higgins went out to personally survey the damage. "That was Sue, always caring, always interested in her community," Bronconnier said.