Cross with white flame behind it

First United Methodist Church

William P. Gardei

Kittery, ME – William P. Gardei, 86, passed away peacefully, on January 29, 2021, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Born in Washington, PA, he was the son of the late Walter and Frances Gardei.  He graduated from Claysville High School in 1952, attended Bethany College where he earned a degree in Religion, and went on to earn his Bachelor of Divinity at Drew University.  For the next 40+ years, Bill served churches in New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine. He dedicated his life to the people of each church, living his faith without pretense, loving without reservation, speaking with a conviction that was divinely inspired and showing courage in the midst of many adversities.  In addition to serving these churches, he spent time as Chaplain of the local Fire Department in New York, as Chaplain at Green Haven Correctional Facility in New York, and as the Clergy Liaison on the Board of Hospice in Maine.

When Bill retired from the First United Methodist Church, Portsmouth, NH, he and Gayle moved to York, ME, to what he termed their “Land of Enchantment.”  However, he could not shake the desire to serve others and returned to the church to serve as Interim Pastor and then as Pastor Emeritus at the Church On The Cape UMC, Cape Porpoise, ME.

Striving to share a positive outlook, he was known for his bright smile and his signature exclamation, “Marvelous!”  Bill had a love of books, a hunger for knowledge and the ability to see the beauty in all things.  Above all, Bill was most proud of his family.  He was a loving and devoted son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and uncle.

He is survived by his bride of 57 years, Gayle Shuart Gardei; his sisters Shirley Knight and Carol Sue Merkel (David); his daughter Lisa Angwin (Michael) and son Christopher Gardei (Jacomijn); his grandchildren Benjamin (Mikayla), Sara, Jasper, and Lieske.  Bill was preceded in death by his brother David Gardei and his brothers-in-law G. Peter Shuart and Billy Knight.