Celebrating the Lives of Eileen and Brien Bigelow

In September, 1981, Concern America donors hosted a gathering in their home to engage new supporters. Brien and Eileen Bigelow attended that evening, which started their incredibly generous journey with Concern. Over the years they would attend events, respond to special appeals, buy crafts, donate live auction items, and for 32 years were faithful monthly donors. Some years ago, they were one of the first couples to let us know that Concern America was included in their estate plans.

Anyone who met Eileen and Brien knew that this world was a better place because of them. Every day they showed what it means to love others you will never meet; they shared generously their good fortunes; and, their love for each other and for life was infectious and brightened every room. Whenever Concern had a need, they always answered the call, such as in 2020 when, within a few weeks, Concern had to pivot our annual Walk Out of Poverty to a virtual, walk-where-you-are event, and Eileen did her own walk with her dog Callie to encourage others to get involved.

Brien passed away in 2017, and Eileen continued their relationship with Concern with love and always a smile and a laugh. I was lucky enough to get to share a meal with Eileen a couple of times a year in addition to regular phone calls and texts, and I knew I had to have at least one new joke ready to share whenever we connected. In one exchange shortly before her death on January 6 of this year, she sent a text out of the blue, in classic Eileen fashion:

Hi ? 👋

I have a couple quips that might come in handy over the weekend:

– She was just a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

– I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian. 

Hoping I provided a little laugh ? 😆

Please join us at Concern America in honoring Brien and Eileen, for all that they have made possible over these four decades, and for all of the transformation their legacy gift to Concern will make in the lives in this world that they loved. And, know that there is always room for a good joke.

With deep love for you Eileen and Brien,

John Straw and the Concern America Team

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