Greenfield says goodbye to moderator Gil Bliss

  • Gil Bliss presides over the 2019 Greenfield Town Meeting from the moderator's podium. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/15/2019 3:21:09 PM

Greenfield Town Moderator and Cemetery Trustee Gil Bliss has died at the age of 64.

Bliss was a man of broad interests, his wife, Margaret Charig Bliss said Thursday. He was a newspaperman, a world traveler, a collector of a wide swath of music and cinema and a lover of local history.

In fact, Charig Bliss said, he saw his role in town government as being in the living history of Greenfield.

“He believed in his heart that local government shapes the way the town grows and moves,” Charig Bliss said. “He always felt he was at the genesis of something new. The town is always in a state of becoming, and he was very much aware of that.”

Charig Bliss said her husband also had a special affinity for cemeteries, even outside his duties as a trustee. 

“He loved cemeteries from an early age. He would go and sit at the back and just contemplate. He had a real appreciation for the things that speak down history,” she said. 

The couple met when they were both working for the Standard Times in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Bliss wrote for the arts section and Charig Bliss edited his copy.

“He never needed much editing,” she said. “He was a great writer.”

The two “sparred” at times in their roles as editor and writer, but Charig Bliss said she recognized early on they were a solid match for each other, and the couple married in 1993, in the yard of the house they shared in Greenfield, where they had a “hell of a party.”

“We had lots of good music, a fire pit, and had a real good party. I went in and changed into my jeans, and it’s been that way ever since,” Charig Bliss said.

The family plans to hold a celebration of life for Bliss next month at the Greenfield Meeting House.

“We started with a party and we’re going to end with a party,” Charig Bliss said.

That’s what he would have wanted, she said.

“He was both physically and psychologically a big person,” she said. “He had any number of interests.”

Until recently, Charig Bliss said, the couple liked to travel, visiting places all over the world. When a few years ago, Bliss received his kidney transplant, travel was not suggested for his weakened immune system.

While they still traveled locally, Bliss began to revive old passions, including collecting music and movies. He had over 8,000 CDs and 600 DVDs in his collection.

“Sometimes our house looked more like a library,” Charig Bliss said.

Bliss was eclectic in his passion for music, collecting the entire discography of some favorites, such as the Grateful Dead, but also obscure genres such as recordings of work songs sung by prison chain gangs.

“Who in their right mind collects chain gang music? But Gil did because he was interested in everything,” Charig Bliss said.  “He didn’t just collect commercial stuff. His musical interest was very broad. It kept his mind active, right to the end.”

For those who wish to attend Bliss’s celebration of life it is scheduled for Aug. 24 at the Greenfield Meeting House at 1 p.m. It will be potluck.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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