Thursday, 30 November 2023
Sol Pitchon Sol Pitchon

Venerable “visionary” pregnancy help leader enters into eternal life

The pregnancy help community lost a longtime leader who is being remembered as, “dedicated,” “phenomenal,” “a gift” to the movement, and more. Sol Pitchon passed away on February 5, 2022. He was 75.

Pitchon leaves an expansive legacy of faith and servant leadership that has blessed all who knew him, along with the thousands who benefited from his visionary life-affirming ministries, and his impact will bear upon 

Sol Pitchon/LinkedIn

generations to come. 

Pitchon is regarded as a dear friend by many people in and outside of the pregnancy help community, including several staff members of Heartbeat International. 

"Sol Pitchon was a gift to the pregnancy help community,” said Beth Diemert, director of Heartbeat’s Affiliate Services. “You never had an encounter or conversation with Sol where you didn't leave in a better place.” 

“He was an inspiring representation of being life-giving in everything you do,” Diemert said. “He was a lover of God and His people in a true and authentic way.” 

Pitchon led New Life Solutions in Largo, Fla., as president and CEO from 1999 to 2018. 

“Sol was an amazing leader and innovator in his organization,” Diemert told Pregnancy Help News.

“His legacy in both areas runs deep, and will echo into eternity,” she said. “Sol's deposit in our lives and mission was invaluable and something to always cherish."

Tweet This: "Sol Pitchon was a gift to the pregnancy help community. His legacy runs deep, and will echo into eternity."

Pitchon with wife Terri/New Life Solutions retirement tribute video

From 2018 to his retirement at the end of 2021, Pitchon was vice president of Church and Community Partnerships for New Life Solutions.

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His successor as president and CEO of New Life Solutions is Charles DiMarco.

“Sol fully embraced and took the charge that we see in Scripture of being a voice for the voiceless and a defender of the defenseless,” DiMarco commented, “and he helped to save so many lives and impact multiple generations.” 

“Sol dedicated his life to serving the Lord, and if you knew Sol you knew he was a prayer warrior and was committed to prayer,” DiMarco said. “One of the legacies he leaves behind is his commitment to prayer and his desire to pour into everyone he served.”

DiMarco, Heartbeat's Betty McDowell and Molly Hoepfner with Pitchon

The story of Pitchon’s life and work, including the amazing account of how his mother survived a Nazi surgical sterilization attempt during the Holocaust, were the subject of a 2014 interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in which Pitchon issued a call to action on the pro-life issue.

“Let’s change this culture of death to a culture of life, the way God meant it to be,” Pitchon said.

Pitchon also expressed how his history drove his commitment to life-affirming ministry, a sentiment he would articulate time and again. 

Pitchon and his mother Garmaine/
 Cleveland Right to Life-Bringing America Back to Life

“My mother survived the Holocaust, World War II,” he said. “God has me serving Him in the Holocaust of abortion here in America today.” 

Sol Pitchon and his mother Garmaine Pitchon addressed a local pregnancy center banquet together in 2010, as well as other pregnancy help events and Cleveland Right to Life's Bringing America Back to Life convention in 2015.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Sol in 2004 and was always intrigued by his story and what an incredible leader he was,” said Betty McDowell, vice president of Ministry Services at Heartbeat International. 

“He never ended a conversation without saying, ‘I love you, Betty, my dear sister,’” McDowell said. “He had a way of making you feel very special. When he contacted me for data, I felt like by the end of the conversation I was the one who gained more from the conversation than him.”

Pitchon discusses a Florida waiting period law
 with the local NBC affiliate/ screenshot

“You always felt better about yourself after being with him,” she said, “he was gifted that way. I think that everyone that was near him was a better person just for having a connection with him. He made you want to be a better person.” 

McDowell described what she termed the privilege of joining Pitchon at a Heartbeat event in Puerto Rico in recent years.

Recalling Pitchon’s support of a pregnancy center there, for which New Life Solutions provided an ultrasound machine in 2016, McDowell told Pregnancy Help News, “It was more evidence of his heart for international ministry as well.”

“They heard God’s call,” Pitchon had said, commenting on the gift of sonogram to the Cree Women’s Center in Puerto Rico. “How can we say no to going down to Puerto Rico and helping transform this community from a culture of death back to a culture of Life? They prayed and have gone forward led by the power of the Holy Spirit. Their vision is becoming a reality and God will provide the harvest.”

Tweet This: “You always felt better about yourself after being with him” - remembering Sol Pitchon

Garmaine Pitchon/New Life Solutions

Pitchon’s story
is remarkable, beginning before his birth. Both parents, Spanish-Greek Jews from Thessaloniki, Greece, were holocaust survivors. 

In 1942, Pitchon’s mother witnessed a Nazi solder shoot and kill her father. At age 16 Garmaine Pitchon was rounded up with other Jews and sent by train to Poland along with 200 of their relatives; they were told they were going there to work on a farm. The trip to Poland lasted eight days with no food or water provided. Her youngest sister died on the journey. 

They would end up at a work camp in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. The day they arrived and were separated was the last Garmaine Pitchon saw of her mother and sisters. Her mother and four sisters were killed in the gas chamber.

Garmaine Pitchon was subjected to electric shock treatments and then surgery for sterilization. 

Notorious Nazi Doctor Josef Mengele had removed one of her ovaries - without anesthesia - when the Allied forces began bombing. The "Angel of Death" doctor and Nazi soldiers left to take cover, with Mengele instructing a Jewish doctor to remove her other ovary. 

The Jewish doctor told Garmaine Pitchon, “Young lady, I am not going to remove that other organ, but I need to make an incision to make it look like I did. So, I want you to do two things, one I want you to hide your cycle each month and then secondly, remember me when you have children.” 

Sol Pitchon was her firstborn in 1946, named Solomon after the doctor who spared her fertility. She would go on to have four sons. 

The cover of Garmaine Pitchon's book

She met Pitchon’s father Simon in Greece, and the couple decided to come to America in 1951, three years after Pitchon’s birth. 

Garmaine Pitchon’s extraordinary story is detailed in the book, Undaunted: The Tiger of Auschwitz.

She passed away in 2018. Simon Pitchon died in 2005.

After coming to the U.S. Pitchon's family first lived in Ohio, but then settled in Clearwater, Fla., where Sol Pitchon attended high school. After high school he was drafted and served in the U.S. Army. He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida.

Pitchon became a Christian in 1981.

He then earned a master’s degree from Liberty University and began a career as a Christian counselor in private practice. From there God called Pitchon into pregnancy help ministry.

Pitchon commented on that calling coming after his serving for five years in private practice in Christian psychotherapy. 

“I’m still amazed how God can fill your heart with a direction and then say, ‘Ok, I prepared you to rule and reign with me, now I’m going to teach you new things,’” he said.

Pitchon, McDowell and Godsey with others at the Caribbean
 leadership summit at the Cree Women's Center, in Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Not only did Pitchon manage to build a vibrant pro-life ministry, he also blessed other centers and ministries throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico by speaking and mentoring

In a 2015 article Pitchon spoke about the remarkable life-saving success New Life Solutions was having. 

“We have spoken to 100,000 families, singles, teens, women and couples who have had an unplanned pregnancy,” Pitchon said. “There have been over 8,000 babies saved from abortion and over 6,000 salvations and recommitments that we can document.”

Pitchon accepting the Servant Leader award from
 Heartbeat International Board Chair Peggy Hartshorn

Pitchon was a 2015 recipient of Heartbeat International’s Servant Leader award, which recognizes individuals who have given of themselves sacrificially in the service of life as both servants of others and leaders in their own right. 

Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey first met Sol Pitchon in 1999 as Pitchon was stepping into his role at New Life Solutions.

“Sol's legacy is broad and deep,” Godsey told Pregnancy Help News. “He was a phenomenal, visionary leader of the work he was called to shepherd in Southwest Florida.”

Pitchon was scheduled to speak at a pregnancy center event in Alaska in 2019. As the pontoon plane in which he and others were traveling was about to land, it suddenly hit the water, the wheels came down, and the plane flipped.

The water of Prince William Sound was 50 degrees. 

“I saw a light, where the wing was,” Pitchon recalled of the ordeal.

He moved toward the light, reached up and the pilot pulled him out. Sadly, Pitchon’s dear friend Bill died in the crash. 

Pitchon would recover from his injuries, while a May 2019 Pregnancy Help News report asked for prayers on his behalf. 

Pitchon and Hartshorn

Pitchon continued to work and bless many over the next three years.

“He was an encourager and equipper of leaders across the pregnancy help movement in the U.S. and around the globe,” Godsey said. “In celebrating Sol's home going, we celebrate his unique contribution to the pregnancy help community."  

Tweet This: Sol's legacy is broad & deep. A phenomenal, visionary leader, he equipped others across the pregnancy help movement in the U.S. & beyond.

Pitchon is survived by his wife Terri, their five children and 13 grandchildren. 

A Celebration of Life is planned for Pitchon at Countryside Christian Church for Saturday, February 12, at 1 p.m. It will also be shown via livestream on the church’s Facebook page.

Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News. 

Kim Hayes

Kim Hayes is a writer for Pregnancy Help News. She has been a teacher, author, speaker and facilitator for marriage and family issues and married for over 35 years to Jeff, with four grown children. Kim’s counseling experience included 21 years as a volunteer consultant and trainer at Pregnancy Decision Health Centers. She was the Athletic Director of Columbus Crusaders Youth Sports ministry for 15 years. Kim has written several books, including the latest release, Prodigal Rewind:  The Grateful Son.

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