Pittsfield memorializes Gabe Anthony, a big brother, a consummate teammate and a ‘community guy’

 Pittsfield’s Gabe Anthony was an integral member of the school’s basketball team. 

Pittsfield’s Gabe Anthony was an integral member of the school’s basketball team.  GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Gabe Anthony (right) with his father Rick before the two officiated a boys' soccer game between Bow and John Stark on Oct. 1, 2022. Dec. 20, 2023.

Gabe Anthony (right) with his father Rick before the two officiated a boys' soccer game between Bow and John Stark on Oct. 1, 2022. Dec. 20, 2023. Chip Griffin

Cam Darrah after unveiling the framed No. 21 jersey to honor Gabe Anthony who passed away in December.

Cam Darrah after unveiling the framed No. 21 jersey to honor Gabe Anthony who passed away in December. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL / Monitor staff

Gabe Anthony's #21 jersey hanging from the wall above the Pittsfield bench. It was unveiled during a brief ceremony to honor Anthony, who died at 24 years old after being struck by an alleged drunk driver on I-93 in December.

Gabe Anthony's #21 jersey hanging from the wall above the Pittsfield bench. It was unveiled during a brief ceremony to honor Anthony, who died at 24 years old after being struck by an alleged drunk driver on I-93 in December. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL—Monitor staff

Gabe Anthony's former teammates and family gathered at Pittsfield Middle High School's gym on Monday night to honor the legacy he left behind.

Gabe Anthony's former teammates and family gathered at Pittsfield Middle High School's gym on Monday night to honor the legacy he left behind. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL—Monitor staff

Gabe Anthony's father, Rick, hugs Casey Clark, one of Gabe's former teammates on Monday night during the pregame ceremony to remember Gabe, who died at 24 in December.

Gabe Anthony's father, Rick, hugs Casey Clark, one of Gabe's former teammates on Monday night during the pregame ceremony to remember Gabe, who died at 24 in December. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL—Monitor staff

Cam Darrah (left) and Casey Clark unveil a framed No. 21 Gabe Anthony jersey presented to Anthony’s family. Pittsfield held a ceremony to remember Anthony, who died in December, before the boys’ basketball game on Monday night, Feb. 12.

Cam Darrah (left) and Casey Clark unveil a framed No. 21 Gabe Anthony jersey presented to Anthony’s family. Pittsfield held a ceremony to remember Anthony, who died in December, before the boys’ basketball game on Monday night, Feb. 12. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL / Monitor staff

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 02-13-2024 4:08 PM

Modified: 02-13-2024 5:48 PM


As Pittsfield athletic director Jay Darrah looked around the gymnasium on a somber Monday night, he felt a sense of comfort. 

Friends and family had gathered together to remember Gabe Anthony, a 2017 Pittsfield High graduate who died in December. The school wanted to permanently enshrine his legacy.

At half-court, Anthony’s former basketball teammates unveiled a framed No. 21 Pittsfield basketball jersey, a gift to his grieving family. They also unveiled a second framed No. 21 jersey that hovered above the Panthers’ bench — a reminder that even though he’s no longer physically there, his memory will live on.

“When I was walking around the gym with his father trying to figure out the best place to position the uniform, we thought what better place than over our bench,” Darrah said, “so that his presence is always with us.”

Anthony died on Dec. 15 after police say he was struck on the side of Interstate 93 in Sanbornton by Kristina Perry, who was charged with driving while intoxicated. Anthony had gotten out of his Volkswagen Jetta in the breakdown lane when the crash occurred. He was 24 years old.

Nearly two months later, Monday presented the chance for the community to recognize his dedication to Pittsfield.

“I think too often, we take things for granted, and we don’t realize how important these things are, how important these good memories are that you spend with your teammates, especially in a small community,” Darrah said. “When we lose someone that means so much to not only his family but to his teammates, to his school and the community, it’s important that we memorialize him. He was one of the kids that did everything right.”

Darrah’s son, Cam, who now works as the boys’ basketball assistant coach, and Casey Clark were among Anthony’s former teammates in the gym. 

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Both graduated Pittsfield in 2018, a year after Anthony, and they both played basketball with him during the Pittsfield alumni game held in the gym in November just weeks before his death.

“He showed up, and he was like, ‘I’m not playing. I’m not playing,’ ” Clark remembered. “I’m like, ‘Dude, get down here.’ He ended up splashing, what, three 3s? That was pretty cool.”

The group is inherently close. They played sports growing up together for as long as they could remember. By the time they reached Anthony’s senior year, the basketball team finally put all the pieces together, Cam Darrah said, but they were upset in the first round of the playoffs. 

It was the following season, after Anthony had graduated, when the Panthers took home the NHIAA Division IV state championship.

“He was always part of that championship run,” Cam Darrah said. “He was one of those guys that didn’t always do the stuff that showed up on the stat sheet but was one of those guys you can’t play without. … Once we won (the championship), he was just as much a part of that as anyone that was actually on the roster.”

As the former teammates gathered together on the floor along with Anthony’s father Rick, mother Erica and sister Sage, they all exchanged hugs and stood together in a state of reflection, gazing into the distance.

Instead of a prolonged moment of silence, though, they opted to give Anthony a standing ovation. The applause sustained for nearly a minute.

Everyone on the floor — and those in the stands — knew how much Anthony meant, not only to the athletic community but the Pittsfield community at large. 

“Small-town communities come together in times of adversity,” the elder Darrah said. “Today’s no different.”

Yet, as members of the 2017 team stood side by side, they could only notice that one of their closest friends wasn’t standing beside them.

“He’s always going to be a part of the brotherhood he helped create with all of us,” Cam Darrah said. “He will be missed.”