Champion Lighting Founder Perry Tishgart Dies
03 Dec, 2021
For many members of the Old Guard of Reefkeeping, the news that Perry Tishgart has died comes with a sense of shock and sadness.
As founder of Champion Lighting in Ambler, Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia, Perry began selling the best and newest technology for marine aquariums in 1983. Many remember Perry and his crew as having one of the very few vendor tables at early MACNA Conferences, starting in an era before protein skimmers, before LED lighting, before anyone could keep stony corals alive in an aquarium.
“I just talked to Perry (by phone) this spring,” said former employee Chad Simon of Boston. “He was living down on the shore, said he was riding his bike, and sounded great to me.”
No cause of death has been announced.
Always assuming the role of hardnosed businessman, Perry did not lack a sense of humor and a warm smile was always there behind the tough exterior. He was uncommonly knowledgeable about marine aquarium gear and supplies, and his clients ranged from major public aquaria to lone hobbyists in remote parts of North America without access to a local fish shop.
According to the Champion website: “Our customers include the Smithsonian Institute, Baltimore, Shedd, New Jersey State, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mystic, Waikiki and New England Aquariums, Sea World, Houston Zoo, Aquarium of America’s, plus numerous universities and public institutions.”
“Perry’s persona was a tough Philly guy who could stand toe-to-toe with the Sopranos boys,” said James Lawrence, publisher of CORAL Magazine and MICROCOSM Books, “but he was passionate about reef technology and always being first to have the most-innovative, best-quality gear. He generously provided a ton of equipment to us during the testing and photography development of The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, The Natural Reef Aquarium, and other Microcosm titles. He will be remembered and missed.”
The following message is from the current staff of Champion:
To Our Dealers and Friends,
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our President and Founder, Perry Tishgart. Perry started Champion Lighting and Supply in 1983. An industry pioneer, Perry introduced, developed and influenced many of the everyday reef-keeping products we take for granted today.
Perry’s outgoing personality, sense of humor and dedication to our industry will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Please keep Perry’s wife, Joan, and daughters, Ariel and Sierra, in your thoughts as they go through this difficult time.
Champion’s experienced management team remains dedicated to serving the needs of our customers. Gary, Todd, George and Adam will continue to operate the business as usual. You can be confident that our loss will not impact any operations moving forward and we still remain dedicated to serving you.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Goldsteins’ Rosenberg’s Raphael-Sacks
On November 22, 2021.
Husband of Joan (nee Sosnov); Father of Ariel Tishgart and Sierra Tishgart (Galen Hall). Services and interment are private.
Contributions in his memory may be made to Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence, independencebigs.org