We are sad to share news of the death of Marcel “Mark” Sigman, one of Household Goods’ very first full-time, all-in, trailblazing volunteers. Mark retired from a distinguished career at Digital Equipment Corp in 2001. While searching for something to do next, he happened to meet Barbara and Ira as they were picking up a sofa at his house. They struck up a conversation (a legendary skill for both Mark and Ira) and the Smiths promptly invited him to join their mission to help furnish homes for people in need. As Ira remembers, “He immediately came and never left.”
Mark played many roles throughout the years – carpenter, mover, truck driver, manager on duty, documentarian, “IT guy,” Board President, Vice-President, and President again, Treasurer, Secretary, and Director Emeritus. He was instrumental in guiding the growth of the organization, and will remain part of its fabric forever. Those lucky enough to have worked with him remember his mastery of the art of “cajoling” volunteers into stepping into new responsibilities, his infectious laugh and playful sense of humor, his optimism, attitude, warmth, and compassion. As President, he skillfully advocated for stability and change at the same time. “This is such a dynamic place,” he often said, while carefully stewarding the founding values.
Mark’s legacy at Household Goods is summed up best in his own words:
“I am at Household Goods because I can actually do something that very few organizations can do. Our mission is not glamorous or ‘sexy.’ It is very basic. It’s not the American Cancer Society or Habitat for Humanity. It is just a thread above the primary level. We have the ability to give hope in very basic material ways: a dresser here, a bed there, a cute painting to make the day better. But in the end Household Goods does what others talk about: charity, mitzvah, zakhat. It is a unique organization without borders: no religion, no government, no signing on the dotted line. Just the love of neighbor and nothing else and nothing in return. I hope we never change this.Thanks for being with us.”