Gail Bourne, an entrepreneur who founded Wheel House Designs, a novelty sock business that grew to more than $2 million in annual revenue, died on Jan. 26 at her home in Morrisville, Vermont, the New England Fuel Institute reported. Bourne was 66. She was known to NEFI members through her marriage to Peter Bourne, president and CEO of Bourne’s Energy.
NEFI issued an emailed announcement that described Bourne as “a successful entrepreneur, as well as a devoted mother, stepmother, and grandmother,” and noted that she had accompanied Peter Bourne on NEFI’s 2010 trip to Alaska, where the couple “enjoyed boating and other activities alongside the Burke, Cota and Knox families, and other NEFI members.”
The email described her as “a skiing, hockey, soccer and basketball mom who somehow managed to make homemade sports cards, help with Cub Scouts, and take incredible family vacations, all while running her business, Wheel House Designs.”
Bourne started Wheel House Designs as a gift shop in 1989 and grew it to a regionally renowned business that attracted customers from all over the Northeast, NEFI noted. Twenty years after the company opened its doors, the U.S. Small Business Administration named Wheel House Designs “Microenterprise Success of the Year.”
NEFI stated: “Gail was also a fighter. In 2009, she was diagnosed with cancer. The life expectancy for patients at Gail’s stage was two-three years. She lived an additional seven.” In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sons, two stepsons, a sister and extended family.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Feb. 2 at 10:30 a.m. at The Stowe Community Church with a reception to follow at the Green Mountain Inn.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Lamoille Area Cancer Network (198 Farr Ave, Morristown, VT 05661), Justice for Dogs (1014 N Wolcott Rd, Wolcott, VT 05680), and Lamoille Home Health & Hospice (54 Farr Ave, Morrisville, VT 05661).
Click here to read a full obituary and sign Gail Bourne’s guest book.
PICTURED: Gail and Peter Bourne, back row, far right, on a 2010 NEFI trip to Alaska.
Photo courtesy of New England Fuel Institute.