Dr. Kenneth P. Nye
FREEPORT -- Dr. Kenneth P. Nye, 70, of Freeport, died on October 19, 2012 after a long and inspirational struggle with Parkinson’s disease and cancer.
He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska to Virginia Cook and Kenneth E. Nye, and
grew up in Chappaqua, NY. He married his high school sweetheart, Ann Schmidt in 1962 and they both earned degrees from Colby College in 1964.
Ken began his career as an educator, teaching English at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois, while earning his MAT at Northwestern University. He then went on to earn his PhD, also from Northwestern University.
In 1971, he moved with his wife, Ann Schmidt Nye and two children, Ken and Amy, to Rumford where he became the assistant principal and then principal of Rumford High School. Ken and Ann painstakingly restored the farmhouse they purchased in North Rumford, and spent many happy hours caring for their cows, chickens, orchard and gardens.
Ken was a beloved member of the community and was very involved in the local theatre company, RAAPA, where he played King Arthur in Camelot and Harold Hill in The Music Man.
In 1984 he moved to Freeport and became principal of Yarmouth HS where he continued to inspire students and educators alike. While a principal in Maine, he initiated Independent Study Week and an Advisor/Advisee Mentor program, both of which are now widely used throughout the state. Due to these and other gifts to the education community, Ken was named Principal of the Year in 1993.
In 1995, Ken left Yarmouth HS and began sharing his insight and experience at the University of Southern Maine in the Dept. of Educational Leadership. He was especially fond of mentoring those who were to become future principals in Maine, and remained in touch with many of them for years.
He retired in 2006, nine years after his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, but continued to speak to Educational Leadership classes and seminars, most recently in July of this year.
Ken loved creating community treasure hunts: ‘Fall Festival of Faculty Friendliness’ in Rumford, and ‘Yarmouth by Starlight’ in Yarmouth, and later, created treasure hunts for his family. Along with the farmhouse in Rumford, he and Ann restored an 1820 cape in Freeport.
He also spent countless hours caring for a family camp in Wayne, and for the First Universalist Church in Yarmouth, including restoration of its historic steeple. He had an irrepressible love of dogs, and was often seen walking with his dogs, collecting neighbor dogs along the way.
He had a unique hobby, crafting lead (later pewter) soldiers, his favorite toys from childhood. His love of gardening, bird-watching, travel, literature, tractors, riddle/joke/storytelling, swimming, sailing, ice cream, musicals,
etc., kept him engaged in life to the last.
At 60, Ken discovered his extraordinary gift of writing poetry. He captured for his readers the magic of an ordinary life and the essence of so much that is good about the world and our journey through it. Ken has published four books, Searching for the Spring, From the Heart, A Dog is a Gift and Clouds of Glory. A kind, gentle spirit, Ken will be missed by those who knew and loved him.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ann; his brother, Bill Nye; his sisters, Nancy Nye and Mary Segalla; son, Ken Nye and daughter-in-law, Jessie; daughter, Amy Nye Breau and son-in-law David; grandchildren Kate and Jenny Breau, Samantha Blossom, and Kenny and Ian Nye; and many other family members and friends who knew and loved him well.
A celebration of Ken’s life will be at the First Universalist Church in Yarmouth at 11 a.m. Saturday. In lieu of flowers,
donations in his name, to the First Universalist Church Steeple Fund, will be gratefully received.