Harmon Thomas (Tom) Gnuse
NORWALK, CONNECTICUT - Harmon Thomas (Tom) Gnuse, 81, passed away peacefully on Jan. 20 at Norwalk Hospital after a brief illness.
Tom was born in Huntsville, Alabama on Jan. 19, 1938, the eldest child of the late Harmon Henry Gnuse Jr. and Donna Davis Gnuse. Tom spent most of his childhood in Franklin and maintained a deep love of 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, Ohio, 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 resided in Ithaca from 1978-1983, where Tom was the general manager of the local NCR plant, after which they moved to New Canaan, Connecticut.
In 1993, 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 New York City and travel to enjoy performing arts around the world.
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 40s.
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.
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. Tourette Association of America, 42-40 Bell Blvd, Suite 203, Bayside NY 11361