The Life of Perry Pitney

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

The Pitney name has been part of the mission since 1965.

Perry Pitney had a vision of what he wanted the Rockford Rescue Mission to become. His wisdom came from a very close source, his father. The Pitneys started the mission back in 1965. The family even lived above the mission, which at that time was on Grove Street.

Randa Noble, Rockford Rescue Mission’s Director of Development, says, "When you live that close to people that are down and out you automatically develop a heart for that."

Perry took over as executive director of the mission in 1987. From that point on he worked to make sure his dreams for the mission became a reality.

Noble says, "Perry had a vision to move the mission from just a smaller operation to something that can help put people back in the community."

But in order to do that, the mission needed money for a new project called Hope Place. This homeless shelter would become a place for people to make positive changes in their lives.

In 1998 WIFR teamed up with the Rescue Mission to host “An Evening of Hope” a telethon that generates hundreds of thousands of dollars in pledges. Perry resigned as executive director in October of 2000 in order to deal with his own addictions.

Through all his life, Perry also had several other loves. He kept music and art close to his heart. In fact the Rockford Rescue Mission says Perry will always be with them since a sculpture called “Calvary” is a permanent reminder.

Noble states, "This is one of his original pieces that he sold and they buyers then donated the work back to us so we have that as a memory."

Perry's wife, Sherry Pitney, currently serves as the Rockford Rescue Mission’s executive director.


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