Al Gehant

Al was a four year oarsman and senior year captain at Loyola Academy in Wilimette, IL. He served as captain at Northeastern University where he was a member of finalist varsity eights in the Eastern Sprints and IRA.  His crew earned a 4th place medal in the 1998 Head of Charles Championship Eights, and he was 7th in the Collegiate Lightweight finals at the 1999 CRASH-B's. Most recently he has rowed in medaling crews for both GGRC and the 2009 and 2010 Head of Charles Gold Medal Mens Alumni Eights from Northeastern.

As a coach and rowing director, Al began in the summer of 1999 at Northeastern University Summer Rowing and coached there two more summers. He coached CRLS Crew for two years and GGRC programs including Somerville High School for six years. Presently he serves as the President of the Board of the Directors and is a co-founder of GGRC.

Al has a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics from Northeastern University and a Masters in Education Administration from UMass Boston. He has worked for the Cambridge Rindge Latin School for ten years where he is currently the Dean of Curriculum for the Science Department and the 9th Grade Campus. He is married and lives in Somerville.

Hillary Abbey

Hillary enjoys any sport that involves being on the water. An avid sailor who can often be found catching the wind on Boston Harbor, she learned to row at GGRC in 2005 after years of watching the rowers on the Charles. She practices in the mornings with its beautiful sunrises and entertaining wildlife, is one of the club's most active volunteers, and, in addition to being a member of the GGRC Board of Directors, is co-chair of the Membership Committee, intent of bringing the benefits of the sport to others, including local youth. Hillary has completed in numerous regattas throughout the years with GGRC, including the four Head of the Charles Regattas.

Hillary is a SeniorProject Manager most recently at Iron Mountain - Cloud Services and has a BS from Cornell University. She lives in Cambridge, MA.

Susan Baccari

Sue was first exposed to the sport of rowing her freshman year at Worcester State College, back in the early eighties by a fellow class mate, after she was told there would be no cross country team for the girls.  Rowing was an endurance sport, so she figured she would check it out, and was hooked the first week!

Sue rowed for the first two years, till the woman’s team was cut due to lack of funds.

Several years later after moving to Medford, she noticed crew boats on the Mystic River…. Sue decided when her daughter heads off to college, and she had more free time, she was going to look into rowing again.  That day came in the spring of 2015 when she joined Gentle Giant Rowing.

Since joining the club Sue has competed in all but one race that the club participated in for the 2015 season and was lucky enough to be a participant in two races that took medals over the season, as well as having the opportunity to row in her first Head of the Charles Regatta.

Sue enjoys rowing with the diverse group of evening rowers she has meet during her first season with the club. She finds rowing on the Mystic after a long day on the road as a Technical Sales Representative for a local Manufacture’ Rep. Firm is a great way to unwind and detach from the everyday grind.

Fred Levy

Many, many years ago Fred rowed a wherry, a training scull, for a few times when he was in college. Years later, at the age of 55, he wanted some sports activity to do with his wife, who had recently started rowing at GGRC, but early morning practices were not compatible with his schedule. When the club began evening rowing on the Mystic, he eagerly signed up. Since then, he’s come to appreciate the great skill required to row well and the great joy of continual improvement. Evenings on the river offer serene settings for active workouts, the rowing colleagues have become good friends, and the exercise can’t be beat.

When not rowing, Fred is an administrator in a girls’ school and consultant to independent schools.

Jeanne Miller

Jeanne is the youth parent representative from Somerville; her daughter has rowed with GGRC in the fall and summer, and with the Somerville-Everett high school team in the spring.  Jeanne is an avid runner and finds the sight of early morning rowers alluring as she runs along the Mystic and Charles rivers.  She is considering learning to row herself some day. 

Jeanne has a B.A. in French and Education from Dartmouth College, a M.Ed. in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard, and a C.A.G.S. in Developmental Studies from the B.U. School of Education.  She has been teaching at the International School of Boston (French/American bilingual school) for 25 years at the early childhood campus.  Her interests include early literacy, bilingualism, and biliteracy, and she has raised her three daughters bilingually, speaking French and English.  Jeanne’s comprehension of crew speak has been steadily increasing the more she listens to rowers, and she hopes to achieve fluency in the future.

Judith Perlstein

Judith began rowing the summer she turned 50 having never done a team sport but always admiring the graceful shells on the river. Inspired by her daughters who rowed at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, in summer of 2000 she attended Northeastern University’s Learn to Row program. Allan Gehant and Gracio Garcia, GGRC co-founders, were the coaches. When Al and Gracio formed GGRC in Somerville, Judith began rowing with other masters women, racing in Masters National, in the Head of the Charles and in other local and regional sprint and head races.

By day, Judith is an administrator and adjunct faculty member at Boston University School of Social Work. She and her husband, who also rows with GGRC, live in Cambridge.

Christopher Stetson

Christopher Stetson has enjoyed boating since growing up on Cape Cod.  He learned to row crew when Gentle Giant started its program practically next door to his home in Somerville, and he has continued to enjoy the sport as an excellent way to stay fit.

He is married, a practicing real estate attorney, grades annual Bar exams, and is a licensed pilot.

Gretchen L. Wehrle-Scott

Gretchen spotted a small ad in the Somerville Journal in the summer of 2004 that promised "Learn to Row on the Mystic".  The ad brought her to Gentle Giant Rowing. Learning the sport as an adult, she surprised herself when it quickly became a passion.  She loves being part of this great group of diverse and welcoming people who get together at the crack of dawn to work on the physical and mental challenges of the ultimate team sport.  Continuous improvement is the mantra - to become stronger and faster, together.  On the board of directors, Gretchen is co-chair of the Membership Committee and the Learn-to-Row program. 

Gretchen has a BA from Albertus Magnus College and  MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts and has a 30+ year career in the financial services industry, both in government and the private sector.  

Rich Whelan

Rich was first exposed to rowing as a Freshman at the University of Lowell when he saw a boat set up outside the Student Activities Center.  Curious about the sport, he joined the rowing team and in his first year of rowing, was a member of the Men's Novice 8 that achieved a first place finish at the Numerica's Cup Regatta (now the New Hampshire Championships Regatta). Although he enjoyed the sport, that would be his final season of collegiate rowing as Rich dedicated his time to his studies in Communications.

While on vacation in Portugal during the fall of 2005, Rich was walking along the Douro River in Porto and heard the familiar sounds of rowing.  This was the catalyst that drove him back to rowing and an online search led him to the website for Gentle Giant Rowing. Growing up in Everett and as a current resident of Somerville, the location on the Mystic and Malden Rivers was perfect and it excited him to see that the club was so close to home and joined the club. When he lined up to carry the boat to the river and put "hands on" for the first time in 12 years, he was instantly hooked back into the sport. 

Rich has competed in several regattas with Gentle Giant Rowing including the Head of the Charles. His enthusiasm for the sport and the club allowed him to become a coach for the Malden High School Rowing Team as well as the Gentle Giant Juniors. Rich also serves as GGRC’s Program Director. Rich is currently employed by Cutter Consortium in Arlington, MA and CBS Radio as a producer for WBMX, Mix 104.1. He lives in the Winter Hill neighborhood of Somerville with his wife Célia.

Karen Whitbeck

Karen learned to row with a community program in Philadelphia in 2001.  A year later, she relocated to the Boston area and discovered GGRC through its website. She enjoys competing in both Spring and Fall races and serves as co-chair of the Race Committee. She also serves as team photographer for most events.

Karen has an 18 year career with McDonald’s USA where she is the Finance Director for the Boston Region, covering approximately 600 restaurants in 7 states. She is a CPA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and French from Illinois State University and an MBA from DePaul University. She lives in Quincy.