Gary L. Pelletier

CROSS LAKE and MILLINOCKET - Gary L. Pelletier, died unexpectedly Friday, March 29, 2013, at a Millinocket hospital. He had been on his way to enjoy a weekend of fishing with two of his sons and several friends. Gary was born Aug. 28, 1942, in Sinclair, to Leonard and Bertha (Dufour) Pelletier Sr.

Gary's first eight years of life were spent in St. Pamphile, Quebec, where his father was a Maine game warden. Gary attended St. Francis Elementary School after the family moved to St. Francis, and later graduated from Community High School, Fort Kent, in 1961. On Oct. 14,1961, Gary married the love of his life, Linda (Perreault) Pelletier. For about three years, Gary worked at both Pinkham and Eagle Lake Hardwood Mill inspecting hangar and furniture stock, and also at Nashville Pinkham Mill as a sorter, trimmer. He then worked with International Paper Company for about three years, assuming many duties such as scaler, lines painter, cruiser and guiding IPC dignitaries down Allagash River, which was basically home to him. In 1967 Gary applied for and was hired as a Maine game warden, following in the footsteps of his father and older brother. Gary and Linda were first assigned to Daaquam Station covering Aroostook, Somerset, and Piscatiquis Counties. By that time Gary and Linda were the proud parents of four boys. By 1969 Gary and family were transferred to the Winterport district for two years. Gary's last transfer was made in 1970 to Cross Lake and the Fish River Chain of Lakes where he remained until his retirement in 1996 after 29 years of dedicated service to Maine Fish and Wildlife Department. In the meantime, Gary was honored to have a younger brother, Roland, join the ranks of the Maine Warden Service. This made a group of a father and three sons protecting the north Maine woods in the conservation department, affectionately known as the "pelletier platoon," which included Leonard Sr.'s brother, Maynard, who was stationed in Caribou. Once Gary and Linda Settled in Cross Lake district, a beautiful daughter became the fifth member of the family. At this time as well, a new home had to be built because the family "outsourced" the house trailer that they lived in. A nice log cabin was built on the outskirts of Cross Lake woods and subsequently two Quonset huts served for garage, storage and working area for reconstructing camps. Gary and his boys, now young men, became proficient in repairing dilapidated camps that needed new flooring, walls, or perlings and sometimes all three! Actually Gary became interested in pursuing this part-time occupation after he successfully raised and renovated the Catholic Church in Sinclair. From then to the present, Gary estimated that he had worked on more than 400 camps, cottages and houses, affectionately calling himself "the camp doctor." Quite a feat in itself considering the deteriorated condition of most of those dwellings. There was no limit as to where he would go to please a customer, anywhere in the north Maine woods, Deer Isle, Moosehead Lake, Baker Lake, etc., he just enjoyed the satisfaction of those restoration projects as a challenge and art. In addition to these projects, Gary often volunteered his services and equipment to help anyone in need. He helped build the camp at Pickeral Lake for needy children for their summer activities. He almost single handedly placed over 100 crosses in Allagash cemeteries, worked on Taylor Farm Restoration Project and was a catalyst in numerous other activities, all pro bono. Gary was an active member of third and fourth degree Knights of Columbus Council No. 0352, Fort Kent, he held many positions in the council and he served as grand knight. He also belonged to Fort Kent Lions Club and Fort Kent Rotary Club. He was extremely instrumental in Friends of the Allagash organization and Allagash Historical Society. His generous and unconditional attitude to help anyone or any organization in need is rarely matched by the commitment that he made. One of Gary's highlights is the addition of his outdoor cookhouse to entertain family and friends. He became a connoisseur of bean hole beans as the featured plate of the day. Many parties for all types of festivals and occasions were celebrated at his "Taj Mahal." In particular, with his spirit of volunteerism of community service, Gary was proud to have entertained both German Biathlon Team and later Finland Biathlon Team at "Taj Mahal," featuring a menu of American cuisine. Attached to this generosity he was very involved with the Can-Am Crown as well, helping to prepare and maintain the trails for sled dog racing. With involvement of the biathlon and Can-Am, Gary's expertise in snow sledding was second to none, unparalleled in the skill by any enthusiast. He guided many parties from distant states for powder riding and sight seeing which he enjoyed as much as them. Invariably, all participants would usually end up at the cookhouse for a good steak feed, bean whole beans and a taste of great friendship. The focus of this cookhouse is what brought family and friends together, a very deep strength that Gary had about faith and family. Anyone who knew Gary saw that in his daily reflections. A very important family tie that was held dear to Gary was the fact that all four of his sons served in the U.S. Navy, learning skills and discipline that would support them in life's journey's. Today he now has a grandson also serving in the U.S. Navy and a grandson attending the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. Something so simple could make this humble, ever giving, generous man a proud soul. In keeping with his love for law enforcement, he is especially proud that his oldest son, Tom, retired as a sergeant in the Maine State Police, youngest son, Kurt, is an 11 year member of Immigration, Customs, and Enforcement, Portland, a nephew, Peter, who has been with Maine Forest Service for 27 years and a nephew, Jay, a detective with the Maine State Police. Gary may have retired from law enforcement, but he was always associated with law enforcement objectives. He will always be remembered for the assistance that he gave to the Maine Warden Service, Maine State Police, Sheriffs Department, Forest Service, Border Patrol Municipal Officers, and to his counterparts across the border in Canada, especially his friendship with members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Gary is survived by his lifetime sweetheart of 52 years, Linda; son, Tom and Carol of Eagle Lake, with grandchildren, Derek and Jamie; son Gary and partner, Ian, of Bridgewater, Conn.; son, Kevin and Cheryl of Fort Kent, with grandchildren, Taylor and Josh; son, Kurt and Aileen of Windham, with grandchildren, Devin and Bailey; precious daughter, Lori and Dave Parent of Standish, and grandchildren, Halee, Hannah and Gregory; brother, Leonard and Rena of Enfield; sister-in-law, Viola of New Limerick; brother, Melford and Betty of Wallagrass; and a sister, Jane of Winthrop. Gary was predeceased by his father, Leonard, in 1991; brother, Roland, in 2004; mother, Bertha, in 2010; and son-in-law, Gregory Davis, in 2001.

Friends may call 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 4 and 9-10:30 a.m. Friday, April 5, at Daigle Funeral Home, Fort Kent. A Mass of Christian Burial, with full fourth degree honors, will be celebrated 11 a.m. Friday, April 5, at St. Louis Catholic Church, Fort Kent. Those who wish may donate in Gary's memory to University of Maine Arcadian Archives, 23 University Dr., Fort Kent, ME 04743-1292 or to Fort Kent Historical Society, 3 Market St., Fort Kent, ME. 04743.

Published in BDN Maine on Apr. 1, 2013