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William “Bill” Sigmon Sr. was honored posthumously as the 2023 Ashby Ward Pioneer of the Year sponsored by Carolina Cool during Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting April 13.
His eldest son, Bill Sigmon Jr., accepted the award on behalf of the Sigmon family, and said of all the awards his father had received this one from the chamber this one from the chamber would’ve been special because it was from his peers.
The award is named after the late Ashby Ward, who was president and chief executive officer of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce for nearly 30 years and exemplified the word pioneer. Carolina Cool is proud to continue the tradition of the Ashby Ward Pioneer of the Year Award which recognizes individuals who have had a positive impact on the Grand Strand
Bill Sigmon Sr. was born in Historic Hopewell, Virginia in 1918. After the First World War, his family moved to Lincolnton North Carolina where his father became a police officer and rose to be the chief.
Bill played football in high school and was awarded a scholarship to play at Davidson College. He left after his freshman year and went to work at a hardware store. Soon after got married to his high school sweetheart, Jane, and together they had three sons.
World War two took the family to Norman, Oklahoma for three years where Bill was a physical instructor for the U.S. Navy. And when the war ended, they returned home and Bill started working for the Rulane Gas Company which eventually became the Suburban Propane Gas Company.
It was his work for the gas company that first brought him to the beach. He got involved in community and networking groups like the Rotary Club where he impressed PG Winstead who offered him a job at his company in Myrtle Beach.
Then in 1966, Ed Burroughs hired Bill as treasurer for Burroughs and Chapin. He became the first non-family member to serve as president and CEO of the Burroughs and Chapin Company and worked there until retiring at age 75.
Bill’s list of volunteer roles in organizations across the Grand Strand seems endless. He was a member of Myrtle Beach Rotary Club and served as their treasurer, secretary, vice president and president over his 39 years with the club.
He was a chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, charter member of the Myrtle Beach Planning and Zoning commission, chairman of the Ocean View Memorial Hospital, board member for Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, past president of the South Carolina Tourism Council, served on the South Carolina Coastal Council, the South Carolina Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism board, the South Carolina Economic Recovery Commission and the South Carolina Defense Base Commission.
Additionally, he volunteered in leadership roles at First United Methodist Church and was a board member and chairman of the South Carolina Methodist Home for the Aging where he led the facility expansion program.
Though his calendar was full, he always had time for his family who say he was always present and never left them feeling like he was busy working all the time.
A close-knit family, their house was always full of laughter with Bill at the center of it all. So much so, that his wife Jane was known to say she raised four boys, not three.
In 1997, Bill was honored with the state’s highest award – the Order of the Palmetto - by former Governor David Beasley.
TD Bank is excited to sponsor the chamber’s Educated Voices On Leading and Valuing Equity (EVOLVE) series as we seek ways to better understand and respect one another. We are committed to demonstrating strong and sustained action to support diverse colleagues, customers and communities to contribute to meaningful, measurable change.