Al Gillotti

Albert Frederick Gillotti, only son of Josephine Castasio and Albert Gillotti of Danbury, Connecticut, died on September 14, 2018, at his home in Wilder, Vermont. Susan, his loving wife of 56 years, was by his side. The cause of death was a brain tumor. Al was grateful for Vermont’s Act 39 which gave him the option of choosing the time.

Al was born on October 21, 1938. He grew up knowing that he wanted to be a novelist. He won a scholarship to Yale and majored in English, graduating in 1960. He served in the Army Security Agency for three years, becoming fluent in Russian. He then went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned a Master’s degree in English. He married Susan, a graduate of Vassar, in 1962.

It took courage to be a writer, with no assurance of a steady income, so after graduate school Al chose a different route: he became an international banker, but wrote novels on the side. For twenty-five years, he worked for Bankers Trust in New York and London, lending money to sovereign states, facilitating loans for ship owners and ship builders, and managing risk. Towards the end of his career, he worked in private banking, with its assortment of international characters and occasional scoundrels, all sources of inspiration for his writing.

Al was a keen observer of human nature. His novels, published under the name A. F. Gillotti, were novels of character, often compared in style to those of Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh. Long before the Enron scandal, Al predicted in Skim that such a thing could happen. His Death of a Shipowner revealed the bad things that shipping companies do as well as the good. George Evans, Al’s final novel, published in 2013, traced the lives of two bankers in London over the course of thirty years, showing how the world of banking shifted from doing business by shaking hands to doing business by subterfuge. In his retirement, he was glad that he was a banker when he was. He was a lifelong member of the Elizabethan Club of Yale University, the Authors Guild in New York, and the Society of Authors in London.

Al traveled over much of the world, and given a choice would have lived in England or Italy. He was a gifted landscape photographer and a connoisseur of food and wine. The Upper Valley, to which he and Susan moved in 2007, was a happy choice for enjoying these pursuits. Al delighted in exploring the byways of rural Vermont and welcoming friends from afar who marveled at the rich cultural life that is here.

Al and Susan had no children. There will be a celebration of Al’s life later in the year in Suffolk in England, where his ashes will be scattered among poplar trees planted by cousins decades ago. For those who wish to remember him with a gift, contributions to the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (Post Office Box 420, Norwich VT 05055) will be appreciated.