John Thomas Gyger III, 70

John "Tom" Gyger

John Thomas “Tom” Gyger III, of South Bridgton, passed away suddenly at the age of 70 on Wednesday night, July 4, 2018.

Tom was born April 12, 1948, in Portland, the son of John T. Gyger Jr. and Esther (Blanchard) Gyger. Tom attended the Bridgton public schools before continuing his lifelong quest of learning, moving on to attend Hebron Academy in Hebron. After graduating from Hebron in 1967, Tom enrolled in New England College in Henniker, N.H., where he earned his Bachelor’s in Education degree in 1971. Subsequently, Tom attended the University of New Hampshire to complete his Master’s degree in Occupational Education in 1974.

Growing up, Tom spent summers at his family camp on Sebago Lake. This was an extremely special period in Tom’s life. He became proficient with many different forms of water-skiing, slalom, ski-jumping, and barefooting. Trick skiing was one of his most enjoyable forms of skiing, because it allowed him to entertain others. Many of his extended family were avid skiers as well, and belonged to the Sokokis Water Ski Club. Later, Tom and his family returned to summer in Sebago, where he shared his passion for the sport with his family.

While at New England College, Tom met June Blake, his wife of 46 years, whom he married in 1972. Together, they made their home in Antrim, N.H., where he began a teaching career at the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield, N.H. Tom was a creative, hands-on teacher, establishing a maple syrup operation for his physically-challenged students which continues to operate to this day.

Each summer the family (which now included son David) would return to Five Fields Farm in South Bridgton (where Tom grew up) to help cultivate crops of apples with his father. In 1979, Tom and June moved their family (which now included son Daniel) back to South Bridgton permanently, where he began his life’s career as an orchardist.

Upon his return to Bridgton, Tom became very active within the community. He served as a board member to Good Neighbors Social Services Program, was a longtime member of the Board of Trustees of the Bridgton Public Library and, most recently, served as a member of the Bridgton Historical Society. Along with his local community involvements, Tom was a long-standing member of the Maine Pomological Society, and served on the Governor’s Council to the Agricultural Council of Maine.

In the mid 1980s, Tom and June assumed the day-to-day operations of Five Fields Farm and continued with its management until his passing. In the early 1990s, Tom expanded the orchard’s offerings to include a retail farm stand and pick-your-own operation. To this day, Five Fields Farm provides local businesses with fruit in which Tom took great pride producing. Each fall Tom would look forward to sharing his knowledge of apples, or any other topic that a customer would be willing to lend an ear to as they entered the stand. In 2000 Tom and June expanded the scope of Five Fields Farm to include a cross-country ski touring center. In 2002, Five Fields Farm was selected as a ‘Forever Farm’ by the Land for Maine’s Future.

At a very young age, Tom’s mother introduced him to the sport of alpine skiing at nearby Pleasant Mountain. It was through this introduction that he began a lifelong passion for the sport. In 1967, he became a member of the National Ski Patrol, while patrolling at the Pat’s Peak Ski Area in Henniker, N.H., and in 1981 he received his national appointment from the National Ski Patrol. With his return to Bridgton, Tom became one of the driving forces behind the extremely successful volunteer ski patrol program at Pleasant Mountain/Shawnee Peak. During his tenure, he volunteered thousands of hours within the Maine Division of the National Ski Patrol as an instructor, Maine Regional Medical Advisor, Eastern Division Junior Program Advisor, Outdoor Emergency Care instructor and Senior Program Director. In 2014 he was inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame in recognition for his countless contributions to the sport of alpine skiing within the state.

Tom is survived by his wife, June, of South Bridgton; sons, David (and Kim Bownes) of Campton, N.H., and Daniel (and his wife Jessica) of Bridgton; mother, Esther, of Auburn; sisters, Sally Biggar (and her husband Eric) of Port Townsend, Wash., and Martha Littlefield of Poland along with her two children, John Culpepper of Portland and Sally Littlefield of Poland. Tom was predeceased by his father John T. Gyger Jr., and brother-in-law, Dana Littlefield.

A celebration of Tom’s life, where friends and family can gather, will be held at Shawnee Peak on Saturday, July 21st, from 1 to 3 p.m. Remarks will begin at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers donations in Tom’s memory may be made to the Bridgton Public Library, One Church Street, Bridgton, ME 04009; Harvest Hills Animal Shelter, 1389 Bridgton Road, Fryeburg, ME 04037; or to an organization of one’s choosing.

Arrangements are in the care of the Chandler Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 8 Elm St., Bridgton.

Words of condolence and tribute may be shared with Tom's family at www.chandlerfunerals.com

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