September 12, 2016
Rev. Dr. Paul R. Gagne, 92, passed away Monday Sept. 12, 2016 at the Nevins Nursing and Rehab Center in Methuen, MA. He was born Dec. 7, 1923 in Springvale, Maine and grew up in Lawrence, MA, graduating from Lawrence High School in 1942. He was the son of N. Paul and Leona M. (Berry) Gagne. Rev. Gagne was predeceased by his wife, Ruth E. (Eastman) in 2013, his high school sweetheart to whom he was married for 67 years.
Rev. Gagne was a World War II United States Marine Corps combat veteran. He served as a Corporal in the Second Marine Division, 6th Regiment and was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Medal with three combat stars and the Good Conduct Medal. He served in Saipan, Tinian, Okinawa and the occupation of Japan in 1945-1946. He was also attached to the Atomic Casualty Unit in Nagasaki, Japan where he was one of the first fifty Americans to land on Nagasaki twenty one days after the atomic bombing.
Upon returning from the war, Paul continued his studies for the ministry receiving his B.A. in Theology from The New England School of Theology in Boston. In 1955 Rev. Gagne received his Doctorate in Divinity from American Divinity School and continued studying the History of Methodism at Wesleyan Theology Pastor’s School and Boston University School of Theology.
Rev. Gagne was ordained as a United Methodist Minister in 1953 and has served as pastor in many New Hampshire churches including Loudon Ridge, Center Sandwich, Hillsboro, Nashua and Claremont, as well as Bradford and Lawrence, MA. He retired from the Lawrence United Methodist Church in 1994 and served as the protestant Chaplain of Holy Family Hospital where he remained until his final retirement in 2009 at the age of 86.
During his years in the ministry, Paul also served the community as President of the Nashua Council of Churches, Vice President of the Greater Lawrence Council of Churches, Director of Christian Education for the Haverhill Council of Churches, Protestant Chaplain at Nashua Memorial Hospital and Mary Immaculate Nursing Home and on the Board of Directors for the Greater Lawrence Ecumenical Area Ministry. Paul was very dedicated to his parishioners in his parish and was particularly proud of his ecumenical and mission work within the community.
Paul’s Denominational Appointments included the United Methodist Conference Board of Trustees, The Board of Church Location and Building, and the New Hampshire Conference Board of Pensions.
In addition to his wife Ruth, Reverend Gagne was predeceased by his brother, Charles L. Gagne. He is survived by his two daughters, Judith E. and her husband, William Egan of Canterbury, NH, and Ruthanne and her husband, Stephen Bergholm of Sandown, NH. He leaves his grandsons, Dr. Benjamin W. Powell and his wife, Lisa of Lubbock, Texas and Samuel L. Powell and his wife, Brianna of Haverhill, MA; three great-grandchildren, Raymond Powell, Kayleigh Douglas and Ethan Powell who will be born in October; and several cousins, nieces and nephews.
Reverend Gagne’s family would like to thank the Nevins Nursing Home family for their loving care and support.
Family and friends are invited to visiting hours on Saturday September 17, 2016 from 9am to 11am at The Charles F. Dewhirst Funeral Home, 80 Broadway, Methuen. Funeral services will be at 11:00am on Saturday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Bellevue Cemetery, Lawrence. To send an online condolence, please go to www.dewhirstfuneral.com