1954 – 2015

CANAAN — Gary A. French, 60, of Canaan, was taken to heaven by the angels on Sunday, April 26, after fighting a courageous battle with cancer. Surrounded by loved ones, his last breaths were taken as Chinese lanterns lit the sky and a campfire crackled outside his window.

He was born in 1954, son of the late Wallace and Helen (Foster) French. He grew up in Poland and attended local schools, graduating from Edward Little in 1972.

Gary relocated his family to Canaan in 1986 to begin his career at Sappi, where he recently retired. He and his wife, Elizabeth, also owned the Canaan Motel, which they sold earlier this year.

Gary loved music, racing, fishing and hunting, as well as camping with all of his “buddies.” He was the king of the campfire and the grill. He had a love for sports and looked forward to his annual Super Bowl bet with his “favorite” daughter-in-law. Gary also enjoyed cruising on the back roads.

Gary had a passion for fireworks and enjoyed a large display with family and close friends, while celebrating his 60th birthday.

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His biggest love in life was his family and friends, and he always enjoyed a great party, being the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. Gary was loved by everyone he met and was a practical jokester, but would drop everything to help someone in need.

Gary donated his body to the University of New England for medical research in hopes of helping medical students learn from his illness. Gary was proud to FINALLY be accepted into UNE.

He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth (Bussell) French. Other surviving relatives include his three daughters, Nya, her husband, Jeff Burgess and their son, Chase; Meghan French, her partner, Nicholas Landry and sons, Troy, Trevor and Grayson; and Mallory, her husband, Spencer Provost and their daughters, Maddi and Autumn. He had a special place in his heart for his two stepchildren, Rebecca, her husband, Benjamin Dunlap and their children, Brenden and Emma; and Bradley Brown, his wife, Andrea and their children, Kailyn and Carson. He will be also be missed by many close friends.

He was predeceased by his parents; Wallace and Helen (Foster) French; and a close friend, Kirk Boone.

The family would like send a special thanks to MaineGeneral Hospice, the Rev. Mark Tanner, Michelle Vigue and Michelle Demchak.

“Don’t cry because I am gone, smile because I was here.”

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