GARY FLOYD COBB
NORTH NEW PORTLAND-A True Maine Outdoorsman
Gary was a man with grit. Against all odds he survived malignant brain cancer in 2007. After holding strong for thirteen years, it returned last winter and Gary passed away peacefully at home on December 12, 2020. He has had a profound and enduring effect on so many and he lived the life of his dreams.
Gary was born on Feb 4, 1942 in Lincoln, ME, the first child of Floyd and Maudie Cobb. He attended Lee Academy and later became a Trustee of the Academy. His roots ran deep in Lee and his education at the academy and time spent hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather set him on the path for his life’s work. When Floyd and Maudie bought Pierce Pond Camps in 1958, Gary got to know every inch of the watershed and spent his summers there guiding. His first impression of the camps as a young man was that it was “better than good!”
Gary attended Gorham State Teachers College and was a member of Alpha Lambda Beta. It was there that he met Betty Verrill, the love of his life. After graduation they both taught school in Millinocket but it was Gary’s intent to craft a different, extraordinary life. They moved their young family to Pierce Pond full time. Winters were spent in a cozy cabin without electricity or running water, accessible only by snowmobile. Gary and his brother-in-law, Robert, built the iconic Grand Lake canoes and trapped for beaver. In the summers he cleared land and started laying out the infrastructure for a wilderness camp, while continuing to guide. One of his most memorable and regular “sports” was Erastus Corning, the mayor of Albany, NY. When the mayor died years later, Gary attended the funeral with the distinction of being the “Mayor’s Maine Guide”
Wilderness Bound, the boy’s wilderness camp founded by Gary and Betty, ran from 1969 to 1986. It was a tripping camp and during those years Gary led hundreds of boys up the mountains and down the rivers of Maine. He taught them the skills and gave them the confidence to become lifelong sportsmen and to be respectful stewards of the wilderness he cherished. Many of the boys considered Gary to be a surrogate father as he guided them during their formative years and so many attribute their current path in life to their experiences at Wilderness Bound. A joyous reunion was held in 2018 and brought many of the former “WB boys” and their families back to Pierce Pond to celebrate Gary and Betty.
Gary and Betty took over Pierce Pond Camps in 1982. His love of the Maine woods led to a lifetime dedicated to preserving the tradition of the Maine sporting camp, protecting natural resources and researching and recording the history of the area. He was elected president of the Maine Sporting Camp association in 1989 and in 1991 was appointed by Governor John McKernan to the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council. It was that year that Gary was also elected Sportsman of the Year by the Sportsmen’s Alliance of Maine. He was a member of the founding board for Operation Game Thief and the first civilian on the Maine Warden Service hiring board. In 2016, family members and friends gathered to see Gary honored with the Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award presented by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
One of Gary’s important and impactful achievements was spearheading the creation of the Maine Wilderness Watershed Trust, now called the Pierce Pond Watershed Trust, a non-profit land trust which has protected 11,000 acres surrounding Pierce Pond from development.
Gary was a history buff and his extensive research for facts and artifacts dealing with the Kennebec river area, loggers and guides culminated in his book “The History of Pierce Pond”. He made sure the “WB boys” were well versed in Maine’s history, the local area history and logging history. He often made a stop at the Lumberman’s Museum in Patten during Northern river trips. Gary, like his father, had a penchant for hunting and exploring the area around Pierce Pond. Much of that time was spent in searching for old cellar holes and farmhouse foundations.
Although he did not waste words, Gary had a way with them. He was a particularly good writer, public speaker and storyteller. He will always be remembered for his colorful way of telling stories and his fantastic laugh. He was a skilled pilot, a builder of canoes, cabins, bridges and roads, a conservationist, a lumberjack and a guide. He taught guides who now guide others. He loved the Red Sox. With a steady manner, Gary was kind, patient and honest-always seeing the best in people. He was truly loved and respected by all who knew him.
More than anything, Gary was a devoted husband, father, brother and uncle. He is lovingly survived by his wife of almost 57 years, Elizabeth; his daughter Jennifer Hering and husband Lionel of Kingfield; his son Andy Cobb and wife Patty of Embden; and his grandchildren Lyle and Jamison. He is also survived by his sisters Judy Mallett and fiancé Jack Bailey, of Lee and Zephyrhills, FL and Jeannie Merchant and husband John of Mount Desert Island as well as in-laws Margaret Messinger and David Verrill, his uncles Claude and Roland Scribner of Lee and several cousins, nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents, Floyd and Maudie Cobb.
The family extends sincere thanks to Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice.
A graveside service will be on October 2, 2021 in North Cemetery in New Portland at 12:00 PM.
Donations in Gary’s memory may be made to the
Pierce Pond Watershed Trust
P.O. Box 5660
Augusta, ME 04332
Lee Academy Alumni Association
26 Winn Rd
Lee, ME 04455
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Giberson Funeral Home and Cremation Services. To leave a condolence for the family and to view the online obituary, please visit www.gibersonfuneralhome.com
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