Gary V. Cole MOUNT HOLLY — Gary V. Cole, 73, of Mount Holly passed March 17, 2021, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Born in Rutland, Vermont, on March 4, 1948, Gary was the son of Lloyd and Impi Cole. The fifth of nine children, Gary grew up on the family dairy farm, where he cultivated his lifelong love of the outdoors, building the knowledge and experience he would need to embrace a life as a tried-and-true Vermonter. After graduating from Black River High School in 1966, Gary attended the University of Vermont, where he majored in Forestry. He found his calling in maple sugaring after working under Dr. James Marvin at the Proctor Maple Research Farm. Gary’s passion for sugaring evolved into a long and successful career, 49 years to be exact, where he made a living and a life as the “Maple Sugar Man” of Mount Holly, devoting his time to teaching and mentoring his neighbor and protégé, Josh Cohen, in the art of sugaring the Vermont way. He was a man who respected, loved and invested in the land. He enjoyed a long career as a logger after buying his first bulldozer from his father in 1968 for $500. Gary was a friend and an advocate for his neighboring landowners. He was known to leave the keys in his equipment for anyone to use; oftentimes he wouldn’t even know where his truck or tractor had gone, always trusting in their safe return. Gary had a long bucket list and never stopped exploring, learning and pushing himself to work harder, and live fuller. He loved the outdoors in every season. One of the great joys of Gary’s life was traveling to Saskatchewan to hunt with Jack Dougan and his late friend, Tim Stewart. He also enjoyed annual trips to Wells, Maine, with Wendy and his good friends, Dane and Alice Tabor. He had a passion for horticulture and gardening, developing his land to support a mushroom crop, honeybees, berry bushes, apple trees, Christmas trees and a meticulously kept vegetable garden. He raised emus, and chickens, designed his own root cellar, built perfect stone walls and even his very own bocce court. He created his own sawmill to craft beautiful furniture, including a cradle for his first grandchild, Lily. Gary was first and foremost a family man. His most important role was as a loving father to Melissa and Katie, devoted partner to Wendy, and Grampie to Lily, Maverick and baby Cole. Holidays and family gatherings had tremendous meaning. He enjoyed Saturday suppers at his mother’s house, and hosted Monday night bocce ball barbecues with Wendy throughout the summer months and played in a bocce league at the Italian American Club in Rutland. Gary had a love for sports, he was a lifelong Red Sox fan and looked forward to games at Fenway with Wendy, Melissa and Katie each summer. He loved cruising in his '57 Ford Thunderbird convertible and riding his pristine Harleys. He was also an avid reader, finishing an average of three books a week. Gary is survived by his loving companion of 14 years, Wendy Stewart of Cuttingsville; two daughters, Melissa Cole (Greg Ilaria) of Long Beach, New York, Katie Cole (Ben Davis) of Amesbury, Massachusetts; three grandchildren, Liliana Jaimes Davis, Maverick Vincent Davis and Cole Anna Ilaria; three brothers, John Cole, Rodney Cole and Norman Cole; three sisters, Stephanie Smith, Valerie Perrino and Carol Fahey; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by two brothers, Victor and Warren Cole. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes contributions to the Foley Cancer Center, 160 Allen St., Rutland, VT 05701; or the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund at https://vtfishandwildlife.com/get-involved/donate/fish-and-wildlife-trust-fund. Arrangements are by the Clifford Funeral Home.