Memorial Tribute to Marcel G. Gagnon: First Co-Founder of SNAP’s New England Chapter
Marcel G. Gagnon
January 8, 1939 – April 30, 2021
SNAP pays tribute to Marcel G. Gagnon, one of the earliest supporters of our mission. We offer our condolences to Marcel’s family and friends.
Marcel G. Gagnon, of Old Orchard Beach, died suddenly on April 30, 2021 in Portland, Maine. He was born in Biddeford on January 8, 1939 to Adolphe (François-Xavier) and Delvina (Canuel) Gagnon. He attended École Saint-Joseph, and Saint-Louis High School, where he played drums in the marching band. After his graduation in 1958, he joined the U.S. Army, and received training in what would become his vocation, culinary arts. He served at Fort Devens, MA, Fort Bragg, NC, and in Keflavik, Iceland. Following the Army, he worked for several years at the Colonly Hotel, for 25 years for Reilley’s bakery, and then for another 20 years for Maine Medical Centre coordinating Bakery Services.
Marcel’s sense of duty carried on through his involvement in first the Cub Scouts, followed by his work in the Boy Scouts, where he was Troop Master for Troop 309 for several years. He was forever proud of having taken the troop on a cycle tour of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, travelling aboard the Prince of Fundy. Marcel was also involved in advocacy for sexual abuse survivors and co-founded with his wife, Claudette, the first SNAP New England Chapter in Maine. He was also active in his faith community of that period, serving as a Eucharistic Minister.
As the truth about sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy emerged, in the early 1990’s, Marcel and Claudette Gagnon created the original New England SNAP chapter, providing monthly survivor support group meetings. With the help of a LCSW who volunteered his time with the group, they were able to secure a meeting room in a hospital in Portland for free. Marcel and Claudette spent numerous hours on the phone assisting survivors as well as facilitating survivor support groups, where they set up rooms, supplied refreshments, and provided copies of important resources for survivors and their families. They also met many survivors in Maine and New Hampshire in person, accompanying them on several occasions to confront the abuser-priests of the Diocese of Portland in their cases. At that time, no SNAP Leader manual existed, so Marcel and Claudette are valued as “pioneers” whose dedicated efforts helped to build the foundation of what SNAP has become today.
Because of Marcel’s years of steadfast support of and service to SNAP, his family has asked that tribute donations be made to SNAP in his memory. If you wish to do so, please complete our tribute donation form and submit it to our home office with your donation.
SNAP remains truly grateful to Marcel G. Gagnon for his years of commitment to those in his community who were sexually abused by clergy. We also wish to thank you for your generous support of a tribute gift in Marcel’s memory.