Gary Bryan Alphonse Bisson of Winchester, Va., died peacefully on May 25 from complications of pancreatic cancer.
Born in Gorham on June 28, 1936, to Antonio (Tony) Bisson, long-time employee of the Brown Company’s Woods Division, and his wife, Alice (Philippon); grandson of Francois Bisson and his first wife, Esther Fournier and Joseph Alphonse Philippon and Mary Olivia Dupont.
A graduate of Gorham High School in 1954, he was a popular classmate, legendary prankster and sophomore class president. He lettered in baseball in ‘54 as a member of the NH Class B championship runner-up team. He graduated in 1959 from University of New Hampshire. After completing college course work in June 1958, he drove a bread truck in Dover for a year to earn enough money for George Washington University Law School, where he earned two degrees, a JD and an LLM in government contracts.
Chester Earl Merrow (1906-1974), one of New Hampshire’s two Congressmen at the time, recommended him for a job during law school at the Library of Congress. It was the first step in a career of more than 50 years working as a lawyer for the federal government or with organizations serving U.S. interests here and abroad: the Smithsonian; CIA’s proprietary corporation, Air America, in Taipei and Bangkok; and 20 years with the Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington and abroad in Africa and Asia. At the end of his government career in 1994, Gary’s passports reflected residence or work in 37 different countries. From then until retiring again 2006, he had his own law practice in northern Virginia. For the past 10 years, Gary served as corporate secretary and on the board of trustees, most recently as vice chair, for Medical Care Development, Inc., an international health care non-profit based in Augusta, Maine.
Gary’s French Canadian heritage and his North Country roots were very important to him. He seemed to know every mile of Coos County, each swimming hole, the history of its buildings, the triumphs and tragedies of families or friends. And since their marriage in 1960, regardless of where they lived, Gary and his wife visited regularly, often with their sons and grandson who started golf lessons at Androscoggin Valley Country Club when he was about 6. Gary had fond memories of his caddy years there during high school years. The entire family returned to Gorham in June 2016 for Gary’s 80th birthday, a surprise celebration which included family and a few old school friends.
Gary Bisson was a humble man who traveled the world but never forgot the values he learned in his hometown. His family’s prayers, along with some happy reminiscences, were delivered personally during his last days by cousin Rev. Msgr. Eddy Bisson of Manchester, whose visit brought solace with a loving peace.
Gary is survived by his wife, Ellen (Knowles), sons Mark (Arlington, Va.) and Todd (Los Angeles), and grandson Dante (also of Los Angeles), a frequent golfing partner. Older brother, Barry, predeceased him in May 2016. He is also survived by sister-in-law, Marie, nieces Gigi and Mimi and nephew Tony, all of California, along with his many Bisson and Philippon relatives throughout New England. In addition to being devoted to his family, Gary was a proud member of the Red Sox Nation his entire life. Go Sox! A remembrance celebration is planned in Washington, D.C., later this summer.