Gorham, NH

Notable NH Deaths: Staff. Sgt. Tanner Grone of Gorham To Be Honored Nov. 25


InDepthNH.org scans the websites of New Hampshire funeral homes each week and selects at random some of our friends, relatives and neighbors to feature in this column. The people listed here passed away during the previous weeks and have some public or charitable connection to their community. InDepthNH.org is now offering obituaries through the Legacy.com service. We view this as part of our public service mission. Click here or on the Obituaries tab at the top of our home page to learn more. And if you know of someone from New Hampshire who should be featured in this column, please send your suggestions to NancyWestNews@gmail.com.

Staff Sgt. Tanner Wolf Grone , 25, of Gorham, died Nov. 10, 2023, in a military training crash of an MH-60 Blackhawk helicopter while in the Eastern Mediterranean sea. He and four other servicemen were killed. He was stationed at Fort Cambell in Tennessee. His career included joining the Night Stalkers Army Special forces, where he became a crew chief on a Blackhawk gunship. Gov. Chris Sununu said, “Valerie and I extend our condolences to the family of Staff Sgt. Tanner Grone, who gave his life while serving his country. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of Staff Sgt. Grone and his four fellow soldiers who perished. Their bravery and devotion to this nation, and the protection of our freedoms, shall never be forgotten.” A ceremony to honor his sacrifice is planned for Saturday, Nov. 25, at 1 p.m. at Gorham-Middle High School’s gym. (Bryant Funeral Homes )

Mark Andler Fenske , 66, of Brookline and Hopkinton, died Nov. 3, 2023. He was a founding partner of T-Bones Restaurant in Salem and helped grow the partnership into Great New Hampshire Restaurants, expanding to nine locations (T-Bones, Cactus Jack’s, and Copper Door), a central commissary and catering arm, several real estate companies, a management company, and a charitable trust. He was chief financial officer. He and partner Tom Boucher were honored in 2009 by N.H. Business Review Excellence in Hospitality award and in 2013 as the Financial Executive of the Year. Business NH Magazine named the company Hospitality Business of the Decade in 2020. A memorial celebration is Nov. 27 at LaBelle Winery in Derry from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. ( Legacy.com )

Rep . Hoy Robert Menear III, of Lee, has died. He served on the House State-Federal Relations and Veterans Committee. He served in the district that included Dover Ward 4, Lee and Madbury. A CitzensCount.org entry listed him as a semi-retired investment banker. House Democratic Leader Rep. Matt Wilhelm called him “a valuable member of our House Democratic Caucus (who) will be dearly missed by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Rep. Menear was first elected in 2012 and successfully ran again a decade later at the urging of his long-time good friend and colleague, Rep. Dennis Malloy (D-Greenland). He leaves behind a legacy of service to the Granite State.” (N.H. House Democratic Leader’s Office)

Francis “Frannie” Whitford Jr., 67, of Nashua, died Nov. 11, 2023. He was a well-known fixture in downtown Nashua as he’d walk the area every day until a day in 2011 when he was struck by a car on Amherst Street. He lived at Premier Rehab and Healthcare since then. Born with developmental disabilities, he was a special member of the Nashua Fire Department and would spend much time at Holman Stadium serving as a batboy, and his obituary noted, “Frannie to a foul ball was faster than a seagull to a French fry.” ( Davis Funeral Home )

Capt. Michael Clark , retired member of the Hanover Fire Department and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, has died. He worked at the Hanover Fire Department for 34 years, retiring in 2009. He was also an instructor at the N.H. Fire Academy. ( Hanover Fire Department )

Barney Charles Barbera , 81, of Nashua, died Nov. 9, 2023. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he worked as a cost analyst in the Office of the Comptroller at Hansom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass., for 20 years until his retirement. He was a member of the American Legion and Post 3 for the last 19 years, holding the positions of sergeant-at-arms, chaplain, senior vice commander, treasurer, commander, and currently finance officer. He served on the Nashua Parade Committee for 14 years, was treasurer for 12 years, and chairman of the Mayor’s Veteran’s Council. He also volunteered for the Boy Scouts of America, Nashua Senior Activity Center and served on Senior Council. He was an instructor for N.H. Fish and Game. (Rochette Funeral Home and Cremation Services)

Ronald Nicholas Distasio , 71, of Nashua, died Nov. 8, 2023. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 5162, Hudson, and in 2002 was Pro-Life director for New Hampshire. He was a devout Catholic and most recently a parishioner of St. Christopher Church. For 48 years he was employed by the Social Security Administration. (Rochette Funeral Home and Cremation Services)

Dr. Benjamin Potter , M.D., 93, of Kittery Point, Maine, died Nov. 8, 2023. While living in Concord, he helped found the Concord Clinic (the first multi-specialty clinic in New Hampshire), which later became part of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, where he practiced for 35 years. He taught at Dartmouth Medical School. (J.S. Pelkey Funeral Home)

James R. Savory , 65, a lifelong resident of Hinsdale, died Nov. 9, 2023. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he worked at Landmark College as a security officer for 16 years until he retired in September of 2023. He had also worked at the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Department for 20 years as deputy sheriff. He was a police officer for the Hinsdale Police Department for two years. (Cheshire Family Funeral Home)

David K. Purcell , 83, of Nashua, died Nov. 13, 2023. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he served for 21 years and finished his military career as a recruiter in Nashua from 1972-1980. He appeared in variety shows in Manchester with his parents as a child. He sang in several quartets as a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and directed the Nashua Granite Statesmen. He and his wife Maurine sang in a barbershop quartet called “Both Sides of the Fence” with another couple. (Davis Funeral Home)

Sharon E. (McQuinn) Blekitas , 73, of Nashua and formerly of Merrimack, died Nov. 11, 2023. She was past president of the American Legion Post 98 Auxiliary of Merrimack and was a volunteer for the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk for 14 years. (Farwell Funeral Home)

Judith Ann Teehan , 65, of Fryeburg, Maine, and Dataw Island, S.C., died Nov. 11, 2023. She was executive director of the Manchester Community Music School, as well as a chamber musician and professional flute player. She co-founded Infinities Chamber and taught Suzuki flute. (Tasker Funeral Service)

Parker Alden Denaco , 80, of Dover, died Nov. 9, 2023. He was an attorney and the first executive director of the Maine Labor Relations Board, executive director of the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board, a colonel (JAG) in the U.S. Air Guard/Air Reserve, and a self-employed arbitrator/mediator. He was active in the American Bar Association and served as neutral chair of the Public Sector Labor Law Committee. (Tasker Funeral Service)

William Henry Blaine , 74, of Gilford, died Nov. 10, 2023. He was a founding member of the Telstars, a rock band that performed from 1964 to 1969, as well as the Stone Cross Band, which toured the East Coast from 1969 to 1985. (Several of their performances may be found on You Tube.) He founded a concert production company, New England Audio Tech (NEAT), in 1978, then Rainbow Concert Production, which he sold in 2005 when he founded WHB Concert Production. He designed sound systems for popular venues, including the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Cape Cod Melody Tent, South Shore Music Circus, the Wilbur Theater and many more. He was inducted into the Pinkerton Academy Hall of Fame in 1999 and was awarded the Trustees’ Meritorious Service award in 2012. (Peabody Funeral Homes & Crematorium)

Jeffrey Saunders Smith , 70, of Wolfeboro, died Nov. 9, 2023. He was band director at Ponus Ridge Middle School, Brien McMahon High School, and Norwalk High School when he lived in Connecticut. He helped form the Musical Arts Conference and taught at Western Connecticut State University. He retired in 2010 and moved to Wolfeboro, where he instructed and wrote drill for the UNH Marching Band and Westbrook High School Marching Band in Maine. He also directed the Strafford Wind Symphony, performed in numerous ensembles, and judged for several marching band circuits. He taught for 48 years. (C.E. Peaslee & Son. Inc.)

Avis A. (Pevear) Denis , 89, of Pittsfield and a former longtime resident of Seabrook, died Nov. 9, 2023. While in Seabrook she was a member of the Rand Church, a volunteer at the voting booths, a member of the Seabrook Historical Society and Daughters of the American Revolution. (Remick & Gendron Funeral Home-Crematory)

George “Tom” Williams Sawyer Jr. , 54, of Milford, died Nov. 12, 2023. He and his wife taught at Souhegan High School. He coached the Souhegan Sabers wrestling and football teams for many years. He also coached girls soccer at Milford Middle School. By his 28th year of teaching, he had taught two generations, in some cases, the children of previous students. (Smith & Heald Funeral Home)

Charles Kimball Estano Sr., 98, of Moultonborough, died Nov. 12, 2023. One of 15 children raised in South Boston, he and his seven brothers served in World War II, he as a tail gunner in a B-24. He was a proud member of the Masons for more than 70 years and the oldest active Mason in New Hampshire. He served as honorary past master of Chocorua Lodge and Red Mountain Lodge in Sandwich, District Education Office and Grand Historian. He was also awarded the John Sullivan Award, the highest honor awarded to an outstanding Mason. He was a professional storyteller and would tell stories about fictional “Uncle Danny” from Ireland. He was also a square dance caller, justice of the peace, town moderator and actor. He was a Civil War buff who participated in the centennial reenactment as commander of the 9th Mass Battery in 1963 in Gettysburg. He retired as chief investigator for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. (Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services)

WORDS OF WISDOM : “You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.” – Old Chinese proverb

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