Obituaries

Bruce Brigham Beckley

AMHERST – Bruce Brigham Beckley died on September 11, 2020 at the age of 89 at home in Amherst, NH.

      Bruce is survived by his wife of 62 years Sharon, children Stuart (wife Susan), Cindy, and David (wife Sarah), grandchildren Ian, Daniel, and Kathryn  Beckley, all who loved him deeply.

      Bruce was born in Hartford CT, son of Kenneth and Mary (Brigham) Beckley. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in Electrical

Engineering.  He was in the Army ROTC and served during the Korean War.

      He married Sharon Bristol in 1958.  Bruce worked 36 years for public utilities throughout New England installing poles, wire, computer systems and managed the construction of nuclear projects in CT, ME, and Seabrook, NH for a total of 4100 mW.

      Bruce was active in the Boy Scouts for over 20 years, sharing his knowledge and love of the outdoors.  He participated in local and NH Conference of the UCC- including the Horton Center at Pine Mountain - throughout his life, filling nearly all lay positions and helping with many projects, structural, musical  and missions. He was a regular member of the choir and led the project to restore the organ at Amherst Congregational Church. 

      Bruce was happiest when he was outdoors.  He enjoyed gardening, hiking, XC skiing, conservation, and being in open space.  He enjoyed sharing the outdoors and was co-director with Sharon of the Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary at Moose Hill for five years.  He was a member of the Amherst Conservation Commission for over twenty-five years, focusing on natural space protection, trails, and educational articles.  Due to his efforts with the Commission, he was awarded Citizen of the Year in Amherst in 2005.

      Bruce and Sharon loved travel to places far and near and sharing the stories of travel through slides.

      Bruce was a project-oriented person whether with tools or words.  He was an avid writer, writing for church, conservation, and family history.  He often used poetry and photographs to describe his love of environment and his faith.

      He loved time with family and friends, enjoying planning celebrations, gatherings and trips.

      A memorial service will be held at the Amherst Congregational Church at a later date. All will be welcome to attend.

In lieu of flowers , please send donations to the Amherst Conservation Commission for land preservation or the Amherst Congregational Church Outreach program , 11 Church Street, Amherst, NH.

      Arrangements are in the care of Smith & Heald Funeral Home, 63 Elm Street, Milford, NH.  To share a memory or offer a condolence, please go to www.smith-heald.com

Richard Giddings

​      BEVERY, MA – Richard “Jerry” Giddings passed away Thursday, August 27, 2020 at Beverly Hospital in Beverly, Massachusetts. Jerry was born August 31, 1936 in Pierre, South Dakota to Richard and Genevieve (McMullen) Giddings.

      He grew up in nearby Fort Pierre attending town schools, hunting pheasant with his mother and taking care of his grandfather’s horses. During his high school and college years, Jerry helped build the Oahe Dam and

worked for the Smithsonian excavating historical artifacts along the Missouri River. After graduation in 1958 from Northern State Teachers College, Jerry enlisted in the United States Air Force. With his newly acquired degree in Biology, Jerry was a natural fit for the Aviation School of Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base (AFB), Texas where he worked on the rhesus monkeys launched into space at the beginning of the United States’ space program. During this time a mutual friend introduced Jerry to Janet Keating, an English teacher from Parker, South Dakota. A whirlwind romance followed and soon Jerry and Jan were engaged just as Jerry completed Air Force Officer Training with a commission as a Second Lieutenant. Jerry and Jan married in Derry, Ireland – a place with ancestral ties to both their families – in August 1960, and with a first assignment to Hahn AFB, they journeyed to Germany to begin their life together. For two people who had not traveled far from South Dakota, Europe presented so many new adventures and Jerry and Jan took full advantage.

For the next 24 years Jerry’s Air Force career took his family all over the world. He was on assignment in Germany when the Berlin Wall went up; he completed two tours in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star; he spent another assignment overseas in Japan and the Pacific; and he had multiple assignments stateside where he directed critical logistics support for strategic bombers and reconnaissance aircraft during the height of the Cold War. Along this wonderful journey Jerry and Jan also became parents to two daughters, Barb and Francie.

      While on assignment in upstate New York in the late 70s, a weekend trip to Boston introduced Jerry and Jan to the beauty of New England. They instantly fell in love with the area and moved permanently to Amherst, New Hampshire in 1983 when Jerry retired from the Air Force. He and Jan enjoyed a busy life full of gardening, entertaining, and watching their family grow. During their years in Amherst, Jan envisioned all kinds of beautification projects for the house and gardens, and it was Jerry who made them happen with his beloved golden retrievers by his side. Later, Jerry and Jan continued to feed the wanderlust they started so many years earlier, travelling to all seven continents and visiting over 70 countries. However, when back in New Hampshire Jerry was known to enjoy a good cigar, a quality single malt whisky and was an enthusiastic home brewer for a number of years. He was also an avid bird watcher, participating in annual bird counts and volunteering at the Ponemah Bog in Amherst. Most importantly, Jerry was a wonderful father to his daughters – he encouraged them to be curious and brave and to have conviction, but he was always ready to provide his unconditional love and support when their best efforts didn’t go quite right.

      Standing well over six feet tall, Jerry cut a formidable figure to his grandchildren, who nevertheless knew him as a gentle, loving and supportive “Grampy”, and he could always be found at every Irish dance competition, youth theatre production, piano recital, or soccer match. Regardless of how you knew him – Dad, “Grampy”, Skip or Jerry – he was always present and eager to be an integral part of our lives and we were so fortunate to be part of his.

      Jerry was predeceased by Jan, his parents and brother Larry.

      He leaves behind his children Barb (Ken) Wolfe, and Francie (Urban) Gillespie; grandchildren Rebecca (Justin) Parker, Genevieve Wolfe (Michael Cook), Liam and Ainsley Gillespie; great grandson Bradaigh Parker, sisters-in-law Mary Giddings and Meredith Keating; and his cousins, nieces and nephews.

      Interment will take place at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery.

      In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the New Hampshire Audubon.

Leon E. Stillwagon

​      HILLSBORO, NH – Leon E. Stillwagon, loving husband, father, poppy, brother, uncle, world traveler, wine connoisseur, art critic, sports enthusiast, dedicated coach, food critic, clam chowder expert, sailboat captain, intrepid skier, mediocre golfer and all-around good guy passed away September 26, 2020.

      Leon was born in Newark and grew up in Succasunna, New Jersey. He graduated from Roxbury high school in 1964. He is a 1968 graduate of Rutgers University 

school of engineering and furthered his education at the University of Michigan school of business executive program.

      Leon started his career as a ceramic engineer at Howmet Corporation in New Jersey, Martin Metals in Illinois, Precision Founders in California and ultimately ended his career as Chief Operating Officer at Hitchner

Manufacturing in Milford NH.

​      Leon leaves behind his wife of 52 years, Marianne, his son Christian and his partner Patrick Toth of Andover, Ohio; his son Matthew and wife Augusta and his two granddaughters, the joys of his life, Abigail and Stephanie of Milford, New Hampshire. Leon is pre-deceased by his parents Charles and Irene Stillwagon of Modesto, California and also leaves behind his four brothers; Charles and his wife Cheryl of New Jersey, Keith and his wife Alicia of Maine, Gerard and his wife Brenda of California and Paul in Florida, as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.

​      A celebration of life will be held at a later date because there is just so much to celebrate about Leon’s well lived life. To plant a memory tree in Leon‘s honor please visit the memory tree site at legacy.com

OCTOBER 2020

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