Harmon Thomas (Tom) Gnuse, 81, longtime resident of New Canaan, CT, passed away peacefully on January 20 at Norwalk Hospital after a brief illness.
Tom was born in Huntsville, AL on January 19, 1938, the eldest child of the late Harmon Henry Gnuse Jr. and Donna Davis Gnuse. Tom spent most of his childhood in Franklin, NC, a small town in the Smoky Mountains. Tom received an undergraduate degree in engineering from Duke University, where he was a member of ROTC, and a Master’s in Engineering from UCLA.
He served three years as an officer in the Air Force, stationed at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH, where he met Jeanne Pflaum, whom he married in 1965. After leaving the Air Force, he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and began a 25-year career in the emerging computer industry, first as a manager at NCR and later as a venture capitalist. The Gnuse family moved to New Canaan in 1983.
In 1993, after the youngest of their three children left for college, he and Jeanne began a new business venture together founding HTG Investment Advisors Inc., a personal wealth management firm based in New Canaan. The goal of the firm was to help families achieve their individual dreams through smarter money management. For clients, this often meant giving them the flexibility to pursue their passion upon retirement, but for Tom, running the firm and helping clients became his passion — one he enjoyed for more than 25 years, well into typical retirement age. He stepped down from day to day management of the firm a few months prior to his 80th birthday.
Another great passion of Tom’s was supporting Jeanne as both a singer and a patron of the arts. This shared love led to tremendous appreciation of the fine arts in nearby NYC and travel to enjoy performing arts around the world. They had just returned from a much-enjoyed trip to the International Music Festival in Cartagena, Columbia. Tom was also a dedicated father who was always available to share his wisdom on how to live a life with meaning and purpose.
Tom also believed deeply in giving back to his community. He sat on the board of directors of the United Way of New Canaan, the New Canaan Community Foundation, and Staying Put in New Canaan. In addition, he was active locally in the Exchange Club, the Men’s Club, the Country Club of New Canaan, and St Mark’s Church.
While Tom had many philanthropic interests, the one dearest to his heart was the Tourette Association. Tom began experiencing uncomfortable motor and vocal tics caused by this neurodevelopmental disorder as a young boy, but was not properly diagnosed until his forties. This sense of difference was part of what led him to become such an empathetic and caring person. He was grateful to be able to support both funding for research on Tourette syndrome and programs such as the Tourette Youth Ambassador Program, which helps young people learn skills ensuring they won’t be held back in life by a tic. The Tourette Association of America recognized Tom and his family for their lifetime philanthropy at their annual gala in 2016. Tourette Association profile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMoPakKLj5Y.
Tom is survived by Jeanne Pflaum Gnuse, his beloved wife of 53 years; his three adult children, Ann Gnuse Diederich, Karen Gnuse Nead MD, and John Gnuse, their spouses, his seven grandchildren, Sophia, Megan, Henry, Katie, Matthew, Hunter, and Nicola; and his two siblings, James (Jim) Gnuse and Kathryn (Kit) Gnuse Brunson; as well as their spouses, children, and grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the Gnuse family asks that you honor his legacy with a gift to the Tourette Association of America, the New Canaan Community Foundation, or Staying Put in New Canaan. (Addresses below.)
A memorial service for family, friends, and colleagues will be held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at 111 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan, CT 06840 at 11am on Friday, February 8.
Donations may be made to:
Tourette Association of America, 42-40 Bell Boulevard, Suite 203, Bayside NY 11361
New Canaan Community Foundation, 111 Cherry Street, New Canaan, CT 06840
Staying Put in New Canaan, 58 Pine St, New Canaan CT 06840.