By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff | Posted: Thursday, September 3, 2015
TROY — The message board on the town common says it all.
“RIP Selectman Nadeau.”
It was put up Wednesday morning as word began to spread around the town of roughly 2,000 that Selectman Gideon L. Nadeau Sr. had died.
Nadeau was 65 and in his second, three-year term on the board. He was first elected in 2012 and then re-elected in March. He lived in town for more than 35 years.
His death is a shock to many, including fellow selectmen William T. “Tom” Matson and Chairman Howard M. Sheats Jr.
Matson said Wednesday morning that they’re “shocked and deeply saddened” by Nadeau’s passing, and send their best wishes and condolences to Nadeau’s family.
Troy Town Hall was closed for the remainder of the day Wednesday out of respect for Nadeau, Matson said.
Nadeau had a heart attack Saturday evening, said James E. Dicey, a longtime friend and the town’s public works director. He died at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon early Wednesday morning.
“I went up to see him (Tuesday) night, and I’m glad I did,” Dicey said. “They were keeping him alive, hoping things would work out, but his heart just let go.”
Dicey knew Nadeau for more than 25 years, and said he will miss everything about him.
“Gideon had a heart of gold,” Dicey said. “He was set in his ways, and sometimes we’d battle, but when it came right down to it he’d do anything for anybody.”
That included spending hours running a roller skating program to raise money to build a community center in town, Dicey said.
The center, funded mostly with a donation from former resident Peter T. Paul, opened last year.
In a post on the Troy Recreation Facebook page, Jon S. Collins, speaking on behalf of himself and the recreation committee, described Nadeau as a “consummate statesman and the motivating force behind many great achievements we have had in Town.”
“It was Gideon who, two years ago, asked me if I would re-form the Recreation Committee knowing it would bring joy to the people in Town,” Collins wrote. “His selflessness and positive attitude will continue in those of us who knew and admired him.”
Town Treasurer Janet L. McCullough said she knew Nadeau since he was a little boy when he lived in neighboring Marlborough.
“We’d go camping with our friends from Marlborough, and they’d bring him along,” McCullough said.
She said his nickname for her was “Grandma” because she was older than him and the town treasurer.
“Gideon just loved everything about the town, and he put his heart and soul into it,” she said.
Budget committee Chairman Bert W. Lang said he got to know Nadeau well during the time both of them served in the U.S. Army Reserve division that was based in Keene.
“He was a really nice guy, and we had a lot of fun over the years,” Lang said. “He will be missed.”
Nadeau was in the military for 32 years, and retired at 60, Dicey said.
His first three years in the Army were spent on active duty in Germany, and then he joined the Army Reserve, Dicey said. Around that time, Nadeau returned to the area, settling in Troy, and worked for the U.S. Department of Defense for 28 years, Dicey said. He said Nadeau worked as a mechanic for the federal agency at Fort Devens in Massachusetts.
He also operated a small business, Gid’s Handyman Services.
Nadeau has two children, Angela Pelletier of Jaffrey and Gideon L. Nadeau Jr. of Richmond, and two grandchildren, Dicey said.
He and his wife, Marcia, have been married for six years.
Dicey said he and his wife, Pat, would often join the Nadeaus on cruises, and they would also get together sometimes on Friday nights to go out to eat, he said.
“We were traveling buddies, per se,” Dicey said of Nadeau.
He added that they would go camping in Maine once a year.
Marcia Nadeau said in an email Wednesday night that the past 11 years with her husband have been the happiest of her life.
“Gid was a very giving man and loved this town and the people in it,” she said. “I hope that some of the things he has started will be given forward by other people to make this town what it was many years ago: people working and playing together in harmony.”
In June and July, Nadeau led a volunteer effort to repaint the south and west sides of the roughly 200-year-old town hall in time for Troy’s bicentennial celebration in late July.
People questioned whether the project would be done in time, Dicey said Wednesday, but Nadeau was determined that it would.
“That was the type of man he was,” Dicey said. “If someone said it couldn’t be done, he’d work twice as hard to get it done.”
As of press time today, services for Nadeau were incomplete.