Beloved husband, father, uncle and friend William H. Gnade, Jr., passed away peacefully at his home in Hancock, in the loving presence of his wife, on January 3, 2022. He was 60 years of age. Bill leaves behind his son, Nathan, his wife, Jane (Gehling), his nephew, David, his aunt, Shirley (Gnade)Reede, and many cousins.
Bill was born on September 21, 1961 in Pompton Plains, NJ, to father William H. Gnade Sr. and mother Joan (Landrigan) Gnade who, along with his sister, Patti-Ann, predeceased him. The family lived in Franklin Lakes, NJ, until 1968 when they moved to Dublin, NH. Bill graduated from ConVal High School, class of 1979.
He attended Gordon College (‘84) in Wenham, MA, which for him was a transformative time. He earned a BA as a double-major in philosophy and theology and enjoyed his three years as an RA, which led to life-long friendships with many of his dorm mates.
As a child and teenager, he was always grateful for every teacher, pastor, scout leader, coach or neighbor who saw him as more than a lost boy. After college, he returned to ConVal to work in its alternative education program for troubled students.
He began writing for the Monadnock Ledger in early 1986. Grateful to editors who saw his potential, he was eventually promoted to staff photographer as well. He won numerous awards in writing and photography, most notably the NHPPA Photographer of the Year for NH weeklies. Later he joined the Keene Sentinel photography staff, a job he loved and where he flourished, eventually earning the NH Photographer of the Year award for dailies. Bill loved meeting new people every day and was especially excited about his business portraiture in the Sentinel’s Business Monadnock. As a freelance photographer, he found the freedom to pursue his own creative perspective and innovative technique.
His written work has appeared in Touchstone: The Journal of Mere Christianity; Pray! magazine; the Northern New England Review; and, for a time he was assistant editor at The New Boston Post before his cancer diagnosis. In 2018, he was lead editor of “Our Lanky Yankee,” a collection of essays and memoirs about longtime Hancock resident and environmentalist, Neal Clark, which was published by the Hancock Historical Society.
A devout Christian, Bill was an enthusiastic parishioner at All Saints’ Church in Peterborough, where he served as lay eucharistic minister, lector, choir member, and, eventually, junior warden. He left his beloved church when it took a turn he believed was incompatible with its deepest theologies and traditions. Recently he became part of a Christian community at Hope Fellowship Church in Jaffrey.
An avid reader and quiet scholar, he read and thought broadly. He loved W. B. Yeats’ poetry, and much of T. S. Eliot’s. His favorite books included The Bible, all things C. S. Lewis, Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov”, and G. K. Chesterton’s “The Man Who Was Thursday” and “Orthodoxy,” the latter of which inspired him to lead several discussion groups. His reading of a wide range of authors, including Annie Dillard and Amor Towles, inspired him to be a better writer.
Bill was a wonderful conversationalist and friend who rarely met a person or opinion that failed to engage him. He loved people and actively sought to encourage others. One of his favorite phrases was “Stay awesome!” He steadfastly aimed to follow his Lord Jesus’ hardest teaching: that failure to love one’s enemies is to fail in love altogether. So he sought love. And he gave love.
Bill cherished his adopted town of Hancock and felt called to be a better helper. This led him to become an EMT for the Hancock Fire Department - one of the most humbling and blessed accomplishments of his life. He loved his HFD team and is ever grateful for the loveliness and kindliness of the people of Hancock.
Bill was an enthusiastic skier, hiker, nature lover, and fitness cognoscente, who loved fly fishing (especially on beautiful Norway Pond near the lovely town bell), as well as golfing with his buddies and his son, Nathan, throughout the Monadnock Region.
Bill’s crowning achievement in his life is his beloved son, Nathan (which means, “gift from God”); and he considered his marriage to Jane in 1998 to be a miracle from God. He deeply loved his extended family and thrived in his role as uncle to 27 nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be announced at a later date. In the meantime, the family encourages the sharing of photos and memories on Bill’s tribute page located here at www.jellisonfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Bill’s name to: The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, The ALS Association, or the National Aphasia Association.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
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