Several local leaders are mourning the passing of Sidney Town Supervisor Gene Pigford, who died Sunday, June 6, at the age of 76.

Sidney Mayor Andy Matviak said he worked alongside Pigford for many years on issues concerning both the town and the village.

“He was the kind of guy that worked with you and always had a kind word to say,” Matviak said. “He will be missed by all.”

Pigford’s term in office was set to expire at the end of the year. Deputy Supervisor Eric Wilson is expected to take over leadership of the town in the interim.

Hamden Town Supervisor Wayne Marshfield said he became acquainted with Pigford around 40 years ago, when he worked for the Delaware County Electric Cooperative.

“He was a gracious guy, one we all wished we could be like,” said Marshfield, who chairs the county’s Social Services committee, of which Pigford was a member.

Marshfield described Pigford as diligent and courteous, always giving advance notice when he could not attend a meeting and signing off every email with “God Bless.”

“He was the kind of guy who would try to solve other people’s problems. That was just natural for him,” Marshfield continued. “He liked to help people. If I could only be half that person.”

Pigford served as an officer in the Oneonta Salvation Army for more than 40 years.

“It’s a huge loss for our community, yet his influence was felt all over the United States,” said Maj. Jim Smith. “Deeply though, within our little congregation. He was very knowledgeable about the Bible. He was a wonderful teacher, a fantastic preacher, a great counselor and a marvelous musician.”

Pigford and his wife, Edith, traveled the country “counseling different needs” after various natural disasters, Smith said.

“He cared about his community, and he just extended his care and concern wherever he went,” Smith said. “He was literally a walking blessing.”

“As high a rank as he held, it never prevented him from doing mundane things,” Smith continued, recalling how Pigford could often be found in the kitchen doing dishes after a church meal.

“He always had a smile for everybody. No matter what he was going through, he would always ask how you were doing,” Smith said. “There isn’t any more of a kinder, gentler, caring person in the world than Gene Pigford.”

Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at seames@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.

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