Remembering Perry Bigelow
Perry Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Homes, passed away on July 4th after dedicating much of his life to serving the homebuilding community and advocating for sustainability. He did so not only in the homebuilding industry domestically, but also advocating for and giving generously toward the holistic flourishing of life in the hardest places around the world.
In 2003 I was making lots of calls to builders all over the country looking for ways to grow Homes for HOPE outside my hometown in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Perry heard about HOPE, called me directly, and got right to the point. He said “Jeff, I love everything about the sustainability, dignity, and spiritual integration of HOPE International but there is one thing that I’m not happy about” …curious on what that could be, I smiled when he said, “the only thing I don’t like about HOPE is that I did not come up with this idea myself.”
Perry immediately jumped in and built the first Home for HOPE outside of Pennsylvania in Chicago, IL at a time when Christ-centered microenterprise development was still a fairly untested method of restoring dignity in the lives of families. He also graciously and joyfully served as Homes for HOPE’s board president for nearly 20 years giving direction and faithfully imparting wisdom as the mission grew. Perry has always thought deeply, shared transparently, and given generously. His impact on my life and the lives of thousands of individuals here and around the world will be felt well beyond his life on this earth. He will be missed.
Perry would not want us to dwell on the past, however. Perry would tell us to look into the future to develop new ways, and refine old ones, to impact lives more efficiently and effectively as we fight poverty in all its forms – spiritually, financially, personally, and socially. Let us honor Perry by thinking deeply, sharing transparently, and giving generously.
– Jeff Rutt, Founder of Homes for HOPE and HOPE International
Perry’s love for Jesus and care for those in poverty was a constant source of encouragement to the HOPE International team. He encouraged, challenged, and helped us sharpen our mission. But what I will remember most are his heartfelt prayers that gave glimpses into the depth and vitality of his relationship with his Savior. We know that he is truly home. Our love and prayers are with his family.
– Peter Greer, President and CEO, HOPE International
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18