PIA Oregon/Idaho — and much of the insurance industry in Oregon — is mourning the loss of Herm Deiss. Weekly Industry News received this announcement from his son Cameron.
“It is with sadness that I announce the passing of my father, Herm Deiss at the age of 70. He battled cancer for over a year and unfortunately it finally took him on October 3rd, 2014. Herm had worked in the insurance industry since 1969 and had always loved working with the agents and company people. He prided himself on being an open-minded and determined underwriter who always wanted to find ways to help an agent write a piece of profitable business. He touched many lives on both a personal and professional level and never asked for anything in return.”
Touching many lives is an understatement.
Herm was loved far and wide for his love of people and an incredible sense of humor. In terms ofthe members of this association, and the insurance industry, Herm was loved by everyone. Speaking for the PIA leadership, membership and staff, he was loved from the top down. He was loved by our board members, our entire membership and our staff.
All of us are saddened to hear the news.
Herm exemplified — no — make that personified, what it is to be an insurance professional. We are a business about people and for people, and that was what Herm was all about, all the time. And we — as an organization — are really going to miss him.
His partner of over 25-years at Mid-Valley General Agency Debby Budik said he loved the industry and though he struggled with his health, Herm worked a few hours everyday. “Thursday morning we had a conference call and Herm struggled to talk. He wished he could be there. A touching moment. And that night he passed. Not many people get that opportunity in life. That’s how much he cared about this place and us. It takes a brave man to pick up the phone and care about someone other than himself knowing he’s going to pass.”
Debby’s comments come close to describing the man but adjectives don’t exist to really describe what Herm meant to the people he touched. They can’t quite describe him or do that description justice.
“Herm set a wonderful tone at Mid-Valley. He wanted a family. Everybody here has been here a minimum of 10-years. We are truly a family,” Debby Budik said.
Herm’s sense of humor, love of life and love of people made everyone who met him think they’d made a new best friend. While he had a zillion great qualities, most of us remember Herm for his wonderful sense of humor.
“He was quick-witted and loved little pranks around the office. He kept everything lively. He was a real person. Herm and I agreed years ago on phone systems. We don’t want people caught up in today’s electronic menu cyberspace. We’re going to answer the phone as humans because we’re human. No one was more human than Herm,” Debby said.
PIA Oregon/Idaho President Wendy Abel-Hatzel said, “Nothing we do is more important than the legacy we leave as we depart this Earth. Herm’s relationship with the PIA and with everyone in the industry and with the people his company served is a shining example of what we all strive to be in our lives. Herm passed that love onto his family and his sons. His legacy of love and service to people is seen in his son Cameron who is deeply involved in this organization and has the same attributes and love of people as his father. It is also seen in the company he founded and in its service to the industry. We will all miss Herm Deiss. He’s one of those irreplaceable people that once in awhile touches our lives.”
Clark Sitzes — who is the PIA Western Alliance’s Executive Vice President — said, “Herm Deiss was a very genuine and generous person. The first time I met Herm was shortly after I took over management of the PIA. Herm called me and welcomed me. Then he told me that if there was ever anything he could do for me or the PIA just ask. And we did so many times and he remained true to his word. This is evident in his legacy visa-a-vis his son Cameron and his entire office staff. What I really wanted from Herm was his golf game. He kept it straight and turned in good scores and had fun doing it. I will miss Herm."
As will we all.
Dave Iwata is Herm’s close friend and did consulting for Mid-Valley General Agency after he retired. He said, “Herm was a kind and generous man. He loved to play golf. Herm drove from Gresham to his office in Keizer nearly everyday for a whole year while receiving chemo treatments. He was a very proud agency owner, and he treasured his relationship with his carriers. When Herm and I visited Scottsdale Insurance company it seemed like all 1,500 employees of the company knew him. The same is true in Oregon. The list of insurance industry people in Oregon who know Herm is endless.”
That last statement is also an understatement.
PIA Western Alliance Director of Insurance Lisa Tucker said, “Herm is only one of the nicest men I have ever met. He always had a warm smile, a hug and of course, some witty remark to make you laugh!”
Former PIA Western Alliance Jr. Vice President Amanda Washington said she was saddened by his passing. “Herm was a generous and hospitable man who genuinely cared about the independent agency system and did whatever he could to foster its growth and prosperity. He had a great sense of humor and the best stories, and he spoke with the authority and confidence of a man who has been there and done that. The world — and the industry — is a little darker without him.”
The family is having a private memorial service.
A celebration of life will take place from 12:00pm to 4:00pm, Thursday, October 30, 2014 at McNary Golf Club (155 McNary Estates Dr. N, Keizer, OR 97303). If you are planning on attending please send an RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions can be made to the following organizations:
Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue
Christmas for Kids
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