NCGA Mourns the Loss of Past President Russ Bigelow
May 3, 2021
The NCGA mourns the loss of past president Russell T Bigelow, who passed away on March 11, three days after his 90th birthday due to complications from stroke and dementia.
Born and raised in San Francisco, the second son of William and Edwina Bigelow, he was a lifelong 49ers fan. He graduated from Washington High in 1949 where he played baseball, basketball, and golf, the latter thanks to his brother, Bill who shared the game with him when he was 14 and it became a lifetime passion.
He attended the University of California, playing three years on the golf team and graduated in 1953 with a degree in accounting. While at Cal he met his future wife, C. Jean Dealey, on a blind date at Sather Gate. After college he and Jean married on Nov. 18 and they were married for over 55 years until her death in 2009.
Upon graduation from Cal he joined the Navy, using his accounting skills as the Disbursement Officer on the USS John Hancock, an aircraft carrier helping to develop the new catapult launch system for jet fighters. After his tour of active duty ended in 1955 he returned to San Francisco and was hired by the “Big 8” Accounting firm Peat, Marwick & Mitchell (today known as KPMG) where he worked for 32 years, becoming a partner. During this time dad and mom had three sons, Russell Jr. (Todd) in 1958, Craig in 1960, and Scott in 1963. He continued in the Naval Reserves and retired at the rank of Commander in 1991. He accepted a two-year transfer to the New York office of Peat, Marwick in 1967, and quickly returned when that was up, settling in Moraga in 1969 where he lived the rest of his life.
He opened the new Oakland office of Peat Marwick in 1970, where he was the Managing Partner until 1978, returning to the S.F. office until his retirement in 1988. He joined the Orinda Country Club in 1971 where he was able to share his love of golf with his wife and sons, maintaining a single-digit handicap into his 60’s, hitting two hole-in-ones and was elected President of the Club in 1980. He was also a four-time Club Domino Champion. In retirement he stayed busy owning a restaurant with his son, Todd, becoming a Tournament Official at NCGA golf tournaments, being elected to the Board and ultimately being President of the NCGA in 1999.
Mr. Bigelow also never forgot about Cal, and was one of the founders and Treasurer of the Cal Golf Committee created to support the Cal Golf Team. He was very supportive of numerous other charities too, including Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church. Russ was preceded in passing by his parents, older brother Bill, wife Jean, and son Craig. He leaves behind his sons Todd (Janet), and Scott (Valerie), Daughter-in-law Mila and five grandchildren Bonnie, Chris, Kevin, Brian, and Daniel. He also leaves behind his Sister-in-Law Gloria and nephew Bob (Jacque), and grandniece Katie. A private interment will be held for family, with a memorial service planned for later in the summer. Donations can be made in Russ’ name to your favorite charity, or to the American Cancer Society, Hospice of the East Bay or the Cal Golf Committee.