Gregory E. Wissell 1991 - 2020
Preston - Gregory E. Wissell, 29, of Preston passed away suddenly Dec. 8, 2020.
He was born June 30, 1991, the son of Fred and Mary (Caisse) Wissell of Preston. A graduate of the Norwich Free Academy, the University of Connecticut and the UCONN master's program with a master's degree in Educational Psychology.
He was employed by LEARN as a Special Education Teacher at the Ocean Avenue LEARNing Academy in New London.
Greg's passion for education was recently best described by the Principal of OALA, "Greg was a treasured member of the LEARN community over the past four years. He began his journey as an intervention specialist working with young children with complex needs. "Mr. Greg", as he was lovingly called, was a highly sought after staff among students. He had the innate ability to connect with even the most hard to reach, through play, imagination, and music. After working in our program for two years, Greg was admitted to UCONN's master's program in Special Education. During his interview he expressed his interest in infusing social emotional learning and therapeutic elements into the classroom, his philosophy and approach much beyond his years. Student teaching took him on a new journey where he shifted to working with our oldest students. It was here that he helped students carve their pathway into the next stage of life in his quiet, gentle way. After successfully graduating, Greg accepted a position at OALA in our high school program where his students flourished under his teaching and care.
It seemed to be serendipitous that a piano was donated to our school at the start of this year. Greg filled our lobby with beautiful music and, in his quiet way, drew students to the instrument, coaching them through their first notes. He brought energy and excitement to learning, setting up night cameras to catch nocturnal creatures and taking his students on virtual nature walks during the extended school closure. Greg put his whole heart into his work and it was felt every day. We will miss his quiet gentleness, his ability to be in the moment with students, his beautiful music, and his flannel shirts. We will honor him by carrying on his compassion for all, in remembering the importance of being present, and continuing to show up when others need it most. May he rest knowing what a true gift he was to all."
A self-taught pianist, with the uncanny ability to pick up a musical instrument and become skilled at it within days, he found enjoyment and interest in most everything that the world presented to him, loved his frequent journeys to Florida and the West Coast, excelling at everything he attempted, ranging from archery to writing, but especially enjoyed helping his student and others. He was a very special person, loved by those who met him, and will be deeply missed by all.
Greg is survived by his parents, Fred and Mary of Preston, his beloved brother and sister-in-law, Frederick and Laura of Lisbon, precious nephews, Freddy and James, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, a donation made be made to the Ocean Avenue Learning Academy, 660 Ocean Avenue, New London, CT.
Calling hours will be held 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Friday, December 18, 2020, at the Gagne Piechowski Funeral Home, 490 Voluntown Road, Jewett City, CT. A Mass of Christian burial will be held 10 a.m., Saturday, December 19, 2020, at Sacred Heart Church, Taftville, CT. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family.
For online condolences, please go to www.gagnepiechowski.com