Former NCC chair Jean Pigott dies at age 87
Published Tuesday, January 10, 2012 4:53PM EST
Jean Pigott, The "Grand Dame" of Ottawa, has died at the age of 87.
Pigott passed away early Tuesday at Grace Manor, the same place she was born on May 20, 1924 when it was a hospital.
An Officer of the Order of Canada, Pigott was also the chair of the National Capital Commission and Ottawa Congress Centre, Progressive Conservative MP for Ottawa-Carleton and a senior advisor to Prime Minister Joe Clark.
When she and her family launched Morrison-Lamothe Bakery she became one of the few female CEOs in the country.
"It's a sad day for Ottawa because she was one of the great dreamers of our city," said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. "She was such a dedicated individual who loved this city and loved this country."
Watson called her a "trailblazer" as she was one of the first female heads of Ontario Hydro, Canadian Tire, the NCC and convention centre.
She was the first female member of the Rideau Club and a female MP in the 1970s when there weren't many of them.
"Back then (Parliament) was pretty much an old boy's club and Jean broke down a lot of the barriers," he said.
The NCC issued a statement Tuesday afternoon marking her seven years of service there from 1985 to 1992.
"The NCC extends its sympathy and sincere thanks to the family of Mrs. Pigott whose unprecedented contribution to the Capital and our organization fostered the pride of Canadians towards their Capital," they said in the statement.
Pigott's sisters Grete Hale and Gay Cook, also well-known for their community work in Ottawa, gathered with friends and family Tuesday to remember her.
"She was there to serve with a (capital) S," Hale said. "I salute my sister. I'm very proud to have had her, but she was not just my sister, she was my best friend too. And I'm grateful for her contribution to this community, this country."
"If we were misbehaving, there was a big wooden spoon and she'd smack it against the counter," said her son David Pigott. "I remember one time, she smacked it just a little too hard and it snapped and I think she was more frightened than we were."
The get-together featured plenty of cookies, as Pigott always kept a jar of them or a plate of donuts on her desk.
"The glass was more than half full, always positive and always saw something bigger and better in something," said her son John Pigott. "And she sure inspired a lot of people and inspired us kids."
Funeral details will be released in the next few days.
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