NEW YORK, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ORBIS International is
saddened to announce the death of its president and member of the board of
directors, the Honorable Oliver Foot. He was 61 years old.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080720/DC13663 )
Oliver's dedication to reduce human suffering caused by blindness was
reflected in his work with ORBIS, a nonprofit global development organization
that transcends cultural, political and religious differences by bringing
people together to save sight worldwide. He once said, "ORBIS is at the heart
of what life is all about -- promoting cooperation and understanding through
serving others. What better way could there be to help heal our divided
"Oliver's passing is of enormous import to ORBIS as an organization but
also to a great many of us as individuals. He gave so much of himself and was
such a kind and generous spirit that he was loved all over the world. He
certainly meant a lot to me as a mentor, boss, friend and brother -- and I
cannot imagine feeling any loss more deeply," said Geoffrey Holland, ORBIS
executive director and chief executive officer. "I hope that while mourning
the loss of such a very special friend, we can all also celebrate his life and
remember what a pleasure it has been to know him."
Oliver joined ORBIS as executive director in 1982 and was appointed
president in 1987. He was a member of the ORBIS International Board of
Directors, as well as the boards of ORBIS Canada and ORBIS Taiwan. He also
served as chairman of the ORBIS Charitable Trust in the United Kingdom.
Active with ORBIS since its founding 25 years ago, Oliver played a
critical role in its development, fully devoting himself to its mission to
eliminate avoidable blindness worldwide. He led the ORBIS team of volunteer
doctors, nurses and aviators who flew to nearly 80 developing countries aboard
the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital, a specially equipped aircraft with
state-of-the-art ophthalmic surgical and training facilities.
Oliver led fundraising efforts that raised more than $200 million in
North America, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Hong Kong to fund the
humanitarian work of ORBIS. He often served as a catalyst, encouraging host
governments and ministers of health to direct their influence to enhance and
support national eye care services and policies in their countries. Under his
leadership, ORBIS has been endorsed by 70 world leaders, including three
secretaries-general of the United Nations and many heads of state, including
President Ronald Reagan, President George H. W. Bush, President Bill Clinton,
Emperor Akio Hito of Japan, President Fidel Castro of Cuba, King Fahad of
Saudi Arabia, President Abdul Kalam of India, and President Jiang Zemin of
Oliver is survived by his wife, Gail; his two children, Mary-Rachel and
Jesse; and three grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending. Details will be published on
www.orbis.org as they become available.
About ORBIS International
ORBIS International is a nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to
saving sight worldwide. Since 1982, ORBIS volunteers and staff have directly
treated more than 4.4 million people for blindness-related diseases and
conditions in more than 85 countries. At the same time, ORBIS has been
building local capacity to provide eye care in those countries by training
more than 154,000 eye care professionals aboard the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital
and in local hospitals. Long-term national blindness prevention programs take
place in Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India and Vietnam. To learn more about
ORBIS, visit www.orbis.org.
For further information:
For further information: Ann Marie Gothard of ORBIS International,
+1-646-674-5581, Annmarie.firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site: http://www.orbis.org/