Steven Gissendanner

January 20, 1955February 5, 2019

Beloved husband, teacher and friend.

Steven ("Giss", "Mr. G") Gissendanner, of Greene County, left this life on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Steve grew up in Annandale, VA and studied at VA Tech and Antioch College before starting his own business, Dogwood Landscaping in Greene County. After many years behind a wheelbarrow he continued his education at James Madison University and became a teacher. Steve taught for 21 years in the Albemarle County Schools, first at Broadus Wood Elementary in Earlysville, then for many years at Woodbrook Elementary, and finally at Meriwether Lewis Elementary School in Ivy. He loved teaching and, as a former President of the Albemarle Education Association, was a fierce advocate for teachers, students, and the public school system. His legacy will live on through all the children to whom he taught that it was okay to be wrong, as long as you learned something. He was a master of origami and shared this passion with countless children and adults. He found great joy tending gardens of vegetables and flowers and, more importantly, the gardens of young minds. He is survived by his husband, Stephen Hanna; his niece and foster daughter, Melody Miick-Hanna; nephews, Aron and Griffin Hanna; his brothers Tom and Jon Gissendanner and their wives; and many Gissendanner nieces. A memorial celebration is being planned for March 23rd. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to your local PBS station.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Steven Gissendanner

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Lynn Trachta

February 18, 2019

I have known Steve for 20 years. My son also had him for social studies. I had the distinct pleasure of working with Steve at Woodbrook. He was an exceptional friend, teacher and human being. We had a lot of fun together. He will always be in my heart. I too have a collection of origami. Steve touched many many lives. His impact is wide and deep.

To Stephan and Steve's family.....he always spoke highly of all of you. He loved deeply. This is a huge loss. Find comfort in the many lives he guided and the legacy he created.

Reid Family

February 15, 2019

We are all so sad to learn of Mr. G's passing. As a 5th grade teacher at Woodbrook, Jo Anne was inspired to learn, think, and be curious. She especially loved Mr. G's origami sessions! As parents, we especially appreciate how Mr. G supported collaborative problem-solving and learning among the students. He was always so patient, calm, and kind.
One of our favorite memories of Mr. G was on the last day of 5th grade during the class picnic and then the class party that evening. After he spent a little time interacting with the parents, he went to hang out with all of his students. Despite the muddy rainy mess, he participated eagerly in the slip-and-slide with the kids. The special bond he had with all of his students was so evident in the glee on their faces as they watched him slide into the mud. It was so much fun to watch all of the laughter and fun!
We will always remember the amazing year with Mr. G and how much he inspired his students. Mr. G is greatly admired by our family. We are so sad he is gone, and will life up his family in our prayers.

Anne Marie and Chuck Pace

February 14, 2019

Three of our four children had Mr. G for fifth grade. He was truly a one-of-a-kind teacher. The testaments here on this page make this evident; we have many of the same wonderful memories. We send our condolences to his husband and family.

Laura Laffond

February 13, 2019

Steven's family, I am so sorry for your loss. My children went to Broadus Wood and he was a caring and patient teacher. I hope he knew how cherished he was and how many good memories he gave our children.

Jonathan Swap

February 12, 2019

Mr. G, I don’t know what to say or much less how to say it. You were one of my favorite teachers. You always cared about each kid so much. You have taught me so much, and I know for certain that I would not be the person I am today without you. I loved how you could make each kid feel special and how you would always help me with my origami projects. I remember the peanut butter and jelly sandwich writing game that we played, I still can’t believe you smashed the jar. I remember reading the phantom tollbooth in class. I remember you sitting with me during a field trip teaching me how to master making an origami dragon from memory. I remember the fun memory game we would play in class. I am so thankful that you have been in my life. I hope you can rest now knowing that you had an effect on everyone you interacted with.
To the family of Mr. G,
I am so tremendously sorry for your loss. I know it must be extremely difficult, but just remember that he is still around in spirit guiding us through life.

Olivia Stow

February 11, 2019

I am so fortunate to say that Mr. G was my fifth grade teacher, and the most impactful teacher I have had. He challenged me and my fellow peers to get out of our comfort zones and discover our full potential . He filled his classroom with amusement, wonder and acceptance where everyone had a voice, and where he helped me find mine. Being a college student now with an aspiration to become a teacher, Mr. G will always have a special place in my heart.
While I am truly saddened by our community's loss, I am confident that his legacy will live on as he has inspired so many of his students to follow ther dreams and appreciate the beautiful gift of learning.

Gretchen Patterson

February 11, 2019

Steve—I will always remember our “dates” to Cici’s and playing Cribbage with your students! ❤️💕 Your words are written on my heart 💜

Nancy Ealy

February 10, 2019

My whole family interacted with Steve. He was my colleague at Meriwether Lewis. He taught both my boys 5th grade at Woodbrook, and he was my husband’s boss in 1984 when my husband worked at his Landscaping Company over the summer. We will all miss him terribly. He was one of my boys’ favorite teachers ever. At 24 and 20 years old, they still talk about the PBJ writing exercise and what a kick they got out of him following the directions so closely that he would just let the jam jar smash on the ground. We still have origami frogs and other sundry animals, some as big as coffee tables, that they proudly created with him. I think I will miss him most of all—working together on projects with my class, doing origami, gaining insight from him as we navigated the ever-evolving world of education. There is no one quite like Steve. I look forward to sharing stories and honoring his memory with others in the near future, when the time is right.

Leigh Anne Kuhn

February 10, 2019

Dear Stef, although we’ve never met, I always felt I knew you well through the stories Steve and I shared. He truly adored you, and my heart breaks for you so.
Dearest Giss~ I simply haven’t the words. Thank you so much-for our laughs, our 2.78 second meetings, for sharing my love of bees, plants, and all things nature. Thank you for loving the countless students you’ve guided, for always being a spirited source of support, candor, sharp wit, and joy, for being you. I will miss you more than I can say.

Susanne Sachs

February 10, 2019

I am so sad and sorry for the loss of our Mr. always knew where you stood with Steve, and he was a wonderful teacher. As one of his former students shared with me the other day---"he was tough and strict, but he definitely prepared me for middle school".

One of my best memories of Steve is when he had his students go through the steps of making PB &J sandwiches...a creative soul. He will be missed!