On Friday, members of the Rutland community mourned the loss of one of their favorite bicycling legislators: Hull Maynard, longtime legislator, business owner and family man, passed away at 85 years old.
“He was one of the nicest, most genuine people,” said former senator Peg Flory, who took over Maynard’s seat in the Legislature. “Everyone knew who Hull was.”
Maynard was a Connecticut native and Middlebury College graduate, who many locals said was known for his gentle nature, love of tennis and passion for the outdoors.
If he wasn’t on foot, Maynard could be found on his bicycle, whether it was campaigning, riding in parades, or just cruising around town.
“He went everywhere on his bike,” Flory said. “He’d go door to door, town to town on his bike. He was no spring chicken, but he was always on his bike.”
“When he campaigned, he’d park outside of town and ride into town on his bike,” said Sen. Cheryl Hooker. “He was very athletic, very fit.”
Maynard lived in Shrewsbury and raised four children with his wife, Taffy, served in the Korean War, and started the Hull Maynard Hersey Insurance agency.
“He was a really good businessman,” said longtime friend and fellow legislator Kevin Mullin. “He really wanted to do good things for the Rutland community. ... People thought that he would have a tough time running, but he won.”
Mullin said Maynard would joke about the handful of votes that won him his seat, and always had a wonderful sense of humor.
In addition to family, Mullin said Maynard had strong passions for transportation and educational opportunities for Vermonters.
“He really felt that education was the real equalizer,” Mullin said. “He did everything he could to improve it.”
Maynard was known for his frequent visits to community meals, whether they were church suppers or breakfasts at the American Legion.
“He didn’t do what a lot of politicians do these days,” Mullin said. “He didn’t grandstand. ... It didn’t matter if you were a Democrat or a Republican, he just wanted everyone to do their best.”
Maynard was especially helpful to Mullin in Mullin’s early days in politics, showing him the best corners for sign waves, the right times to stop in and visit locals at breakfasts and how to navigate the State House.
“His wife was with Hull everywhere,” Flory said. “I can remember him telling me, ‘You can eat your way around the county. Taffy and I love it.’”
While in Montpelier, former legislator John Bloomer said he always expressed a fierce loyalty to Rutland County and its residents, especially its farmers, and was an early proponent of hemp as a transitional crop for Vermont’s dairy farmers decades ago.
“He had a big heart,” Bloomer said. “He always went above and beyond the call.”
Maynard’s generous nature rubbed off on his community, which in turn came to his aid. When his house burned, community members raised money for him and his family by sponsoring a locally-organized dinner, Hooker said.
“Hull had a great love for ice cream,” Mullin fondly recalled. “He always knew where the best ice cream was anywhere. ... My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. We’ve lost a great statesman.”