Gary William Symonds

FALMOUTH – Gary William Symonds, 84, of Falmouth, passed away surrounded by family on Nov. 12, 2023, after a brief illness. Gary was born on Aug. 4, 1939, to Merton and Alberta Symonds of Casco. He grew up in Casco alongside his brother Tim and helped with the family construction business alongside his father. After Gary graduated from Casco High School in 1957, he went on to MVTI which is now SMCC, then transferred to the University of Orono graduating in 1963 with a degree in history and government. He went to work for Fidelity Union Insurance for a few years, which was his only employer. After that he was self-employed and owned a travel agency, restaurant, real estate agency and developed many neighborhoods in the Lake Region Area. In addition, Gary worked many years as an insurance adjuster. He traveled the country and was there on the scene of many hurricanes and other natural disasters. The last business he owned & loved the most was Country Village Assisted Living (CVAL). He started with three residents and was often found in the kitchen cooking, then breaking bread with everyone over his favorite Saturday night meal of baked beans, red snap hot dogs and biscuits. Shortly after he opened CVAL, he convinced Biney Bryant to come on board as his administrator and the business took off and was very successful. He retired in 2018.

In 1999, he met Beverly DeBevoise at DiMillo’s Restaurant in Portland, and was married in 2007. They spent 24 great years together loving their friends and family deeply & traveling the world. They visited 58 countries – Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Argentina, Chile, China, Thailand, Italy, Greece, Portugal, France, etc., often accompanied by their friends, grandchildren and daughters. When each grandchild graduates from college, they get to pick anywhere in the world they want to go with Papa Gary and Bev for two weeks and they can bring a friend. He had so many great memories!

Gary is survived by his wife Beverly and daughters, Betsy Mayo and husband Robert of Casco, and Melissa DeBruyne and husband Kevin of Leesburg, Va., and his six cherished grandchildren Megan, Rachel and Nicholas Wandishin; McKenna, Christopher, and Padraig DeBruyne; and Derek Mayo. He was extremely proud of his daughters and his grandchildren and was looking forward to them growing up and making their mark in this world.

Gary was an avid golfer and skier and instilled a love for his favorite sports in his wife, daughters, and grandchildren. If you wanted to see him, you would be playing alongside him waiting for his one-liners and often unsolicited advice. His daughter Betsy recalls one afternoon round with her father. She said, “Dad, I am not playing well today, what is it I am doing wrong?” And he looked at her and said, “Everything. Pick up your ball.” After playing golf a couple summers, his grandson Nick said, “I’m really feeling good about my game Papa Gary, do you think I could beat Chris or Paddy and he said, “Not a chance.” Gary was in his element at Gorham Country Club, his original “home” course of 30+ years before he joined Falmouth Country Club. He played golf five times a week from age twelve up until the last couple of years. Symo, Sy, Gman, Big G, BBG, SA, Pop and Papa Gary were just some of the nicknames associated with Gary showing the affection people felt toward him. Gary also enjoyed hunting with his brother Tim and nephews Bobby and Billy. There are many tales of their exploits around home and up north.

Gary loved his girls. He was extremely proud of his wife Beverly and grateful she came into his life. His daughters, Betsy and Melissa, were the beneficiaries of his outgoing personality and love not only golf, but of skiing, travel, and Boston sports. His daughter Melissa recalls their conversation following the Mets beating his beloved Red Sox in the 1986 World Series. “We were so close, Mis.” Whether watching the Red Sox or Pats, Gary enjoyed them all. These connections remained strong throughout their lives. Gary’s granddaughters were the apple of his eye and his grandson’s shared his passion for sports and humor.

To honor Gary, a Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, November 27, from 2 -5 p.m. at DiMillo’s Restaurant, 25 Long Wharf, Portland. Please join us and share your stories.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Good Shepard Food Bank, 3121 Hotel Road, Auburn, ME 04210 where Gary was a volunteer and valued their mission.

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