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Thomas J. “Tom” Gillick, Jr.

November 20, 1921 – August 17, 2007

Hampton Union, Tuesday, August 21, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Thomas J. “Tom” Gillick, Jr.

HAMPTON — Thomas J. “Tom” Gillick Jr., 85, of 17R Gill St., died Friday, Aug. 17, 2007, in Exeter Hospital after a period of failing health.

He was born Nov. 20, 1921, in Lowell, Mass., the son of the late Thomas J. and Ellen A. (Farrell) Gillick.

Mr. Gillis was a textile chemist for the American Felt Company of Greenwich, Conn., for 27 years.

The widower of Margaret M. (Dunn) Gillick, his wife of 52 years who died in 1998, he is survived by four sons, Thomas F. Gillick of Layton, Utah, Terrance J. Gillick of Marshville, N.C., Kevin P. Gillick and his wife, Kimberly, and their children, Kevin Jr., Kristina M., Kaelan T., and Kyle G. of Greenwich, and Dennis M. Gillick and his wife, Ida, and their son, Mark F., of Hampton; and several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by one brother, William L. “Bill” Gillick.

WE REMEMBER: He had summered in Hampton as a youth and resided in Norwalk, Conn., from 1946 to 1957 moving to Greenwich, Conn., and retired to Hampton in 1989.

He was a 1939 graduate of Lowell High School and a 1943 graduate of Lowell Textile Institute with a degree in textile chemistry.

He was a U.S. Army Air Corps veteran of World War II. He enlisted while in college and was an aviation cadet, earning his wings in 1944. He later served as a custodial cryptographic material officer, recovering sensitive materials from aircraft crash sites in China, and he accepted the formal surrender of the Japanese Army stationed in Shanghai, China, at the end of World War II, discharging in 1946 as a first lieutenant.

He held 54 patents and published numerous articles for the textile industry. He was the leading authority on felt dying processes and applications, retiring in 1979.

He was always community minded, serving as an auxiliary firefighter in Lowell in 1943, and Greenwich, serving in various capacities, as well as a police and fire commissioner in Greenwich. He was chairman of the Greenwich Republican Party and served on the staff of former U.S. and Connecticut Gov. Lowell P. Weicker, Jr.

He was a member of The Representative Town Meeting and was elected to the Board of Selectman serving two terms from 1976 to 1980 in Greenwich.

He served on the Planning Boards in Stamford, Conn., and Greenwich, along with the Stamford Charter Revision Commission in 1986 and in Hampton as a state representative, selectman, Planning Board member and on the N.H. Estuaries Project.

Mr. Gillick was a communicant of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish, where he was a lector, and a member of the Holy Name Society and Knights of Columbus.

He was a member of the board of directors of New Generation Inc., past president of the U.Mass. Lowell Alumni Association, a member of the 100 Club, and Hampton Rotary Club.

SERVICES: Calling hours will be held Tuesday, Aug. 21, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home-Crematory, 811 Lafayette Road, Hampton. [Members of American Legion Post 35 will salute Gillick around 6 p.m. during calling hours at the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home in Hampton.]

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church, 289 Lafayette Road, Hampton. Interment will be in St. Patrick Cemetery, Lowell.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to New Generation, Inc. P.O. Box 676, Greenland, NH 03840 or to the Hampton Falls Volunteer Firemen’s Association, 3 Drinkwater Road, Hampton Falls, NH 03844.

Paying Respects to Gillick

Friends and Family Recall ‘A Great Man’

By Susan Morse

Hampton Union, August 21, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON — Friends this week are remembering Thomas J. Gillick Jr. as a respected mentor and colleague who will be missed.

Gillick died Friday at Exeter Hospital at age 85.

Gillick wore numerous hats as a public servant, according to his son, Dennis Gillick of Hampton.

“He was a great man, he was so many things to everybody,” Dennis said. “He lived for the community, he lived for his family, he lived a simple life. He really gave to the community.”

Gillick’s many titles included state representative, Hampton selectman, acting town manager and Planning Board member.

Gillick served on numerous town boards and also as a volunteer firefighter in Greenwich, Conn., where he and his wife, Margaret, of 52 years lived before moving to Hampton. It is a role carried on by his son, who serves on the Hampton Falls Volunteer Fire Department.

Dennis Gillick said when he was a child he would ride along with his father when he was called to the fire department.

“From a personal perspective,” Dennis said, ” … I would ride in the car with him. I’m kind of continuing that tradition with Mark, who is in second grade. (My father) left a legacy of firefighting with me. He’s the guy who always stood by his family, he was always there for us, whenever you needed him.”

“What a great guy, he loved the firefighters, he loved the fire service,” said Rye Fire Chief Skip Sullivan, former Hampton fire chief and selectman.

“He did something for one of the boys in Hampton,” Sullivan said. “One of the guys was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Tom was able to get him off the line (and into a job) as a fire alarm operator and the fire alarm operator took his job. It was just a wonderful thing to do.”

Firefighting ran in the family, Sullivan said. Tom’s brother Bill was a deputy fire chief in Lowell, Mass., where Gillick was born. Bill Gillick died in 2006. Their father was a firefighter in Lowell, according to Sullivan.

Gillick also served as a police and fire commissioner in Greenwich.

“He was a big supporter of the guys in Hampton,” Sullivan said. “One more of the good old guys is gone. He really had the town of Hampton in his heart.”

Politically, Gillick was active locally and at the state level. He was selectmen chairman when Bill Wrenn became Hampton’s police chief.

“Tom was always the consummate gentleman, he always treated people with respect, even when he disagreed with them,” said Wrenn, who is now commissioner of the state Department of Corrections. “He was a guy known for his common sense and good judgment. I often sought out his counsel in dealing with issues.”

Gillick was a selectman at the time of the controversial resignation of former Town Manager Hunter Rieseberg, an incident that must rank among the challenges of his political career.

In 1995, the five selectmen voted 3-2 to have Rieseberg, the town manager of two years, resign after members learned he had applied for a job elsewhere. The board gave him a $125,000 check to buy out his contract and agreed to a gag order on their decision, enforceable by a $100,000 fine. Selectmen Arthur Moody, Brian Warburton and Mary-Louis Woolsey agreed to oust Rieseberg; Gillick and Paul Powell opposed the forced resignation.

The controversy followed many selectmen to the voting booth where they lost re-election races. But after Rieseberg left, Gillick was appointed acting town manager.

“Tom was a friend and mentor to me,” said Warburton, who is now the Seacoast Regional Supervisor of the state Division of Parks and Recreation. “He did so much for the community. He was just a wonderful influence in my life.”

Gillick served on the Capital Improvement Plan committee. He was currently on the Planning Board.

“Tom always looked to the future, it was about planning, how we all went about putting resources together and looked at everything for years to come,” Warburton said. “He always had a vision.”

Selectwoman Ginny Bridle Russell recalled how she came onto the board when Gillick was handing the town manager post over to former Town Manager James Barrington.

“Tom was a very willing servant of the town of Hampton,” she said. “Tom did any task asked of him, he did it willingly and gladly. He surely will be missed by everyone.”

Rep. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton worked with Gillick in the N.H. Legislature in 2005 and 2006.

“He was like a father image to me, he mentored me when I went to the House,” Stiles said. “I relied on his knowledge of the process. I just will miss him terribly. We served together one term, it was my first and his last term. They sat me right next to him in the House. We didn’t vote exactly the same. He respected my position and I respected his.”

Gillick served two terms as state representative.

“In Hampton, he was on just about every board there was,” said John Sangenario, former chairman of the Hampton Republican Committee. “He had a wealth of knowledge, people went to him for advice. He was a fair and objective man who believed in faith, family and country. He was a patriot in every sense. We’ll really miss him here in Hampton.”

Gillick was a World War II veteran in the U.S. Army Air Corps, serving in Burma, China and India.

Ralph Fatello, commander of the Hampton American Legion [Post 35], remembers Gillick being present at every Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremony in town.

“He was a good friend. I will personally miss him,” he said. “He was a good man who loved his family, loved his friends, loved his country. I’ll miss his smile, that little twinkle in his eye.”

Members of the post will salute Gillick tonight around 6 p.m. during calling hours at the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home in Hampton.

Richard Fabrizio, editor of the Hampton Union, said Gillick was “one of those people, who after you spoke with him, you felt lucky to be a journalist and honored to share such a person’s words with others.”

Fabrizio recalled talking to Gillick for a number of stories, including one shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Gillick said: “I was having breakfast. An older man that lives alone was having breakfast. My son, who is a call firefighter in Hampton, called me from work and said, ‘Have you heard about the plane that hit the World Trade Center?’ I hadn’t. He said, ‘turn on the TV.’ I was watching with horror as the second plane hit the tower.

“I’m a World War II veteran,” Gillick continued. “And I used to live in Greenwich, Conn. I occasionally worked in downtown Manhattan so I’m familiar with the streets. And I could not believe it. I have been upset all week because a lot of emotions I may have suppressed over 50 years bubbled up. And I cried. I cried thinking about all the people who would be trapped and their families. Such feelings of frustration and anger that I’m still shaken.”

“Those were such beautiful words,” Fabrizio said. “He had that ability to spellbound you. It’s sad to lose someone who so wonderfully provided one man’s perspective on the world.”

Gillick served on the board of directors of New Generations Inc. in Greenland, a homeless shelter for pregnant women and mothers of young children.

“He was always pro-life,” Dennis Gillick said. “He was the kind of fellow, (who said) ‘If you don’t like the way I think and feel, don’t vote for me,’ but he always stood for his principles to the end. He never wavered.”

Gillick will be interred next to his wife, who died in 1998, in the family plot at St. Patrick Cemetery in Lowell, Mass.

“He and she were inseparable,” Dennis said. “Whenever you saw my dad, you saw my mother. We will deeply miss him.”

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