David Campbell Bigelow, 96, passed away peacefully in his daughters' home surrounded by family on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 after a full and remarkable life. A beloved husband, father, and grandfather, David leaves behind a lasting legacy of humility, appreciation, and kindness. It's hard to describe the impact he had on those around him. His family and friends will always carry a part of David Bigelow in their hearts.
The son of David E. Bigelow and Ruth Campbell Bigelow, David was born in 1926 in New York City. He grew up in Wilton, CT and went on to high school at Avon Old Farms, a place where he developed many fond memories. David went on to serve as a translator in the US Army during WWII and then graduated from Yale University with the class of 1948. He worked in the film industry for a few years, after which he transitioned and took over his family's business, The Bigelow Tea Company.
He led Bigelow with integrity, passion, and a spirit of determination for 46 years. He was a pioneer in the tea industry, with Bigelow being the first company to add flavor to black tea. David's passion for tea drove the specialty tea category to where it is today. He remained active in the company until 90 years old, serving as Chairman of the Board and running his beloved Charleston Tea Garden in South Carolina.
Above all, David Bigelow was a devoted family man. He met his beautiful wife, Eunice, in New York City in 1958, at just the right time. They married in 1959 and spent the next 64 years together in Westport, CT. They shared a lifetime of companionship, compromise, and cherished memories. They were a true partnership, in life and in work, rarely more than a few feet apart. He always said, "he wouldn't know what he would've done without Mema."
He was a loving father to two beautiful daughters, Lori and Cindi Bigelow, and a dedicated grandfather to two grandchildren, Meghan Campbell O'Hara and David Bigelow O'Hara. "Poppop" taught his family more than he ever knew. He showed them how to listen first, and believed deeply that there is something to learn from everyone. He taught them the importance of finding humor in everyday life and shared his love of laughter with them every day. He taught them curiosity, patience, and balance. But most importantly, he showed them what it meant to love unconditionally. He left an indelible mark on us all.
In the business world, David Bigelow was truly one of a kind. He built an impressive track record over the years, but what made David unique was how he led Bigelow Tea. He operated with the highest levels of integrity and ethics, never willing to cut a corner or sacrifice his values. He had the deepest loyalty to his suppliers, customers, and most importantly, his employees. He always put people above profits and insisted on creating a workplace where everyone could take pride in their work. He was a leader in the truest sense of the word - humble down to his core and quick to give credit to those around him. His legacy of compassion, humility, and kindness will live on at Bigelow Tea for many generations to come.
Outside of family and tea, his true love was golf. David took on golf like he took on everything else in life, with tenacity, curiosity, and pure determination. Like the entrepreneur he was, he reinvented his swing almost every other week, relentlessly looking for little ways to improve his game. He may have watched more YouTube videos of Ben Hogan's swing than anyone else on earth. While his family couldn't match his prowess on the course, they will always hold on to his limitless advice and cherish the many fond memories playing the game together.
David was unwavering in his commitment to supporting education and the arts in Fairfield County. Through the David and Eunice Bigelow Foundation, he supported technology & coding classes and music & art programs for students in Bridgeport, as well as the Westport Country Playhouse. He received many recognitions for his contributions, including the Avon Old Farms Distinguished Alumni Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Tea Association.
David was an avid reader with an insatiable curiosity to learn about the world and those around him. In his later years, David and Eunice split their time between Westport, CT and Palm Beach, FL. He loved spending time with family, especially with Cindi's partner Craig and his son Cooper, wife Jinah, and their children Spencer, Mason, and Rosie.
He was preceded in death by his daughter Lori Bigelow and survived by his wife Eunice Bigelow, his daughter Cindi Bigelow, and his two grandchildren Meghan Campbell O'Hara and David Bigelow O'Hara and his wife Mary Kate O’Hara.
Calling hours will be held on Thursday August 24 from 3pm to 8pm at Lesko & Polke Funeral Home, 1209 Post Road in Fairfield, CT. A celebration of life will take place Friday, August 25 at 11am at Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, 1045 Old Academy Road in Fairfield, CT. For travel directions, or to sign his online Guest Registry, please visit www.LeskoPolkeFuneralHome.com. Family and friends are invited to join in honoring the life of David Bigelow and sharing their memories.
The family kindly requests any donations be made to the David and Eunice Bigelow Foundation. Donations can be made via Paypal (via this link, or directly to paypal.me/bigelowfoundation) or via check. Checks can be mailed to 201 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield, CT 06825 address, Attn: Janned Serrano. These contributions will continue David Bigelow's spirit of generosity and make a positive difference in the lives of those in need, just as he did throughout his remarkable journey.
David Bigelow served as a beacon of wisdom and guidance to so many. He will forever remain a source of inspiration, love, and strength. Let us celebrate the incredible life he led and the profound impact he made.