Former law professor Bruce E. Gagnon dead at age 78

Jan 27, 2020

Bruce Eric Gagnon, a prominent Alaskan attorney and avid outdoorsman, died peacefully at his home in Anchorage, Alaska, Jan. 12. Gagnon taught at Vanderbilt Law School for three years, from 1967 to 1970, after earning his J.D. at Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the Harvard Law Review. He earned his B.A. in English at Harvard University in 1964.

Gagnon and his wife, Sharon Elliott Gagnon, moved to Nashville immediately after he earned his J.D., and he joined the Vanderbilt Law faculty as an assistant professor. He was selected Professor of the Year while serving on the law faculty.

In 1970, Gagnon moved to Anchorage, where he joined the firm of Atkinson Conway & Young, which eventually became Atkinson Conway & Gagnon. There, he found himself immediately immersed in the urgent legal issues of the Alaska Pipeline years. Colleagues praised his brilliant legal mind and reputation for fair dealing. Gagnon and his firm represented such clients as the Cook Inlet Region, the National Bank of Alaska and Providence Hospital. He was elected to the prestigious American Law Institute in 1993.

A native of rural Minnesota, Gagnon loved everything about his life in Alaska, from his interesting legal career to the amazing Alaskan outdoors. He enjoyed golfing, fishing, hunting and skiing at Alyeska with friends and family, who remember him for his love of life and spirit for fun.

Gagnon is survived by his wife Sharon, his son Elliott Gagnon, his daughter Anne Millington, and four grandchildren.