Past RI General Secretary Herbert Pigman dies
Herbert A. Pigman, who served as RI general secretary and vice chair of the International PolioPlus Committee (IPPC), helped launch the PolioPlus program. Rotary Images
Herbert A. Pigman, who served as RI general secretary and vice chair of the International PolioPlus Committee (IPPC), died 18 May in Ambia, Indiana, USA. He was 78.
Pigman, a member of the Rotary Club of Boswell, served as RI general secretary from 1979 to 1986 and from 1993 until his retirement in 1995. In 1985, under his leadership, Rotary launched the PolioPlus program, a public-private partnership created to assist international health agencies and governments in eradicating polio.
Pigman served as vice chair of the IPPC from 2000 to 2005 and director of the PolioPlus Immunization Task Force from 1986 to 1989. He worked with the spearheading partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to help establish strategies and policies for ending the disease.
“The GPEI has lost a giant, and Rotary has lost someone who so clearly understood the willingness of Rotarians to finish the job,” said Dr. Robert S. Scott, chair of the IPPC. “He was an architect of the PolioPlus program and worked tirelessly towards the goal of eradicating polio. I lost not only a very wise and knowledgeable Rotarian in every aspect of PolioPlus but also a friend who was never too busy to call on for advice.”
As director of the PolioPlus task force, Pigman traveled widely, serving as Rotary’s liaison to UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the national health ministries of many countries. The task force helped launch Rotary’s polio immunization operations throughout Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
“Right from the start, Herbert Pigman was an aggressive leader and advocate in Rotary’s fight to eradicate polio,” said RI General Secretary John Hewko. “His stewardship helped pave the way for Rotarians worldwide to help rid the world of this crippling disease.”
Pigman began his career with Rotary in 1956 as an assistant editor of The Rotarian magazine. From 1964 to 1975 he was RI undersecretary, responsible for Rotary’s program development, publications, and international meetings. He served as executive assistant to the RI president from 1976 to 1978. In 1979, he was elected general secretary, and he served in that post until 1986.
Pigman graduated from Franklin College in Indiana with a degree in journalism and received an honorary doctorate in the humanities. He also served as a trustee of the college. He pursued farming and newspaper publishing before his second term as RI general secretary began in 1993. He was a member of The Rotary Foundation centennial book committee.
Pigman twice received Indiana’s highest civilian honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, in recognition of his distinguished work for Rotary.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Betty; sons Thomas and Dan; and daughters Jenny, Sally, and Liz.
Visitation will be held Wednesday, 23 May, from 16:00 to 20:00 at Grady Funeral Home in Williamsport, Indiana, and Thursday, 24 May, from 11:00 to 13:00 at the Locust Grove Methodist Community Church in Ambia, where a service will be held. Interment will follow at Locust Grove Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the PolioPlus Fund. Online condolences may be made at www.gradyfuneralhome.com