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Friday, May 04, 2012

Memorial to Friend and Colleague Henry Vincent Gosselin: Editor, Writer, Journalist, Novelist

Friend and colleague Henry Vincent Gosselin died on May 2, 2012. Following is my personal memoir in his honor:

Harpswell, ME:  Professional journalism has lost a champion for freedom of the press and a strong
advocate for peace.  Henry Vincent Gosselin, 83, died on May 2, 2012, in Parkview Adventist
Medical Center in Brunswick, Maine. (He was born in 1929.)

Henry was a quiet hero who expressed his passion for peace through his journalism and, in recent years, in historic novels about his Franco-American family.  

He was a Korean War veteran who became a peace advocate
after his commanding officer requested him to write bereavement letters to the families
of war victims who died or were killed in Korea.  

After studying journalism, Henry was working for the secular press when Archbishop Peter Gerety, who was the Bishop of the Diocese of Portland, asked him to become the managing editor of The Church World

Under Henry's journalistic leadership, The Church World won numerous awards and was a model for other diocesan newspapers.  Henry didn't waste time writing "puff pieces" about the Church.  Rather, he wrote the news people wanted to read. He covered the good and the not so great in The Church World, regardless of how church administration perceived it.  

His news stories invited writers like myself and many others to contribute. Needless to say, The Church World was a popular newspaper.

When The Church World competed for advertisers to sustain operations, Henry said, "Julie, The Church World will never die for lack of advertisers.  If it goes, it will be for a lack of readers."

When Henry retired from The Church World, the circulation was impacted by the rise of Internet users.  Although The Church World is now a magazine called "Harvest", people throughout Maine continue to mourn the loss of the objective journalism Henry maintained while he was managing the articles and news. 

Moreover, I continue to receive email from people who may read something I wrote about Henry and they want to contact him about his source material.  As recently as two weeks ago, a reader asked how they could buy one of Henry's wonderful novels he wrote about his amazing family's French-Canadian and American history.

My husband Richard and I remember Henry's jovial entertaining!  He had a deal going with local Maine lobster fishermen, who sailed out to sea from the point where he lived in Harpswell, Maine.  Henry lived on Tondreau Point, a small finger on Maine's Coast, where the lobster fishermen sailed by his small home and moored sailboat early in the morning.  Henry would leave a note in a bucket at the end of the pier where he moored his boat, to let the fishermen know how many lobsters to deliver for dinner.  They'd check Henry's bucket on their way home to fill his lobster order and Henry would pay the bill when he saw them.  

We enjoyed many wonderfully fresh lobster feeds on Tondreau Point!

Henry was a faithful Roman Catholic who often bristled church administration when he expressed his avid support of women in the church and for married clergy.

Everyone who knew Henry admired his quiet journalistic courage, his religious faithfulness, his delightful writing style, and passion for world peace.  We loved Henry's appreciation of nature, his devotion to family, and his attachment to his charming family home on picturesque Tondreau Point.

I know all Friends extend our sympathy to Henry's family, his sister, brother in law, nephews, nieces, friends, neighbors and to his widow, Claire.

Journalism has lost a champion for world peace.

Comments from his colleagues on the Friends-listserver where he wrote and participated for many years includes: 

JoAnne LaPointe who wrote: "I am sorry to hear about the passing of such a great person. I enjoyed him greatly."

Gil Auger of Sanford ME wrote:  "I had the -pleasure of dealing with Henry several times when I was active on the State level wit the Knights of Columbus.He was quite a man for all seasons! Gil"

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