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Robert P. White

July 1, 1934 — February 14, 2023

Caribou, ME - Robert P. White (“Bob”) passed away on Wednesday, February 14, 2023 at Cary Medical Center. Bob was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on July 1, 1934, to the late Millard S. White and Gretchen (Papen) White. He was a proud 1952 graduate of Ludlow High School and in 1956 he graduated with a degree in History and Physical Education from Springfield College. In 1963, Bob graduated from the University of Maine Orono with his Masters Degree in Secondary School Administration.

Bob moved to Maine in 1956 when he accepted a position “sight unseen” at Patten Academy in Patten, Maine. He taught Physical Education for grades 4-12 and coached every team that the school had from cross-country to cheerleading. Even though Bob was far from home, in true Bob fashion he quickly connected with the community and was able to call Patten his home.
Bob left Patten briefly in 1958 for a one year stint in the Army but returned to his position at Patten Academy in 1959. In 1963, Bob moved on to teach Health and Biology at Houlton High School in Houlton, Maine for one year. From there he accepted a one year position as the teaching principal at Bridgewater Classical Academy. From Bridgewater, Bob took a position with the Limestone School Department in 1965 where he taught Physical Education, Swimming, and Driver Education until his retirement in 1991. After retirement Bob went on to work at the Caribou Shop ‘n Save (Hannaford) for twenty-five years. He loved his time at the store, and it was a dream come true for him to have so many people to help and to “tell stories” to each day.

Bob was well known in the Caribou community for his work with the Little League Baseball program. He served as the President of the league for twenty years, from 1978-1997. He spearheaded the building of a second Little League field and was deeply humbled when it was named after him in 1980. Bob was named the Maine Recreation and Parks Association Citizen of the Year in 1983, and the Caribou Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1984. The City of Caribou also named July 12, 1997, as Robert P. White Day for his work with the Little League Baseball program in Caribou.

Soccer officiating was truly a passion for Bob, and he especially enjoyed helping new officials develop their skills after his retirement as an active official in 1997. He was a forty-six year charter member of the Northern Maine Board of Approved Soccer Officials and a fifty year charter member of the Maine Association of Soccer Officials (MASO), where he served as the State Rules Interpreter for twenty-eight years. In 2014, MASO instituted the “Bob White Award” to recognize a soccer official’s outstanding contributions to the game of soccer, and in 1997 he was inducted into the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Sports Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game of soccer in the State of Maine. Bob also served nationally as a member of the National Federation of High School Officials and was named the 2002 High School Referee of the Year by that organization. In 2012, he was again recognized nationally for his work as a soccer official as the second person from Maine to be inducted into the National Federation National High School Hall of Fame. Bob was very active in the National Federation and often presented at their conferences and served on many committees. He loved his work with the federation and treasured the friendships he made through that work.

His work with the Maine Principals Association (MPA) was also a passion for Bob. He served that organization as the Director of many regional and state wrestling meets. His organizational skills and attention to detail made these events run smoothly, ensuring the events were positive experiences for all involved. The MPA showed Bob their appreciation for his commitment to the organization by awarding him the 2000 MPA Service to Youth Award, 2009 MIAAA Larry Labrie Distinguished Service Award, 2011 MPA Larry Labrie Award for Outstanding Contributions to the MPA Interscholastic Division, and his 2014 induction into the MPA Hall of Excellence. More than anything,Bob valued the friendships and relationships that he created with those he worked with at the MPA. Additionally, Bob dedicated himself to student athletes through his work with the Aroostook League. He served that group as the Secretary/Treasurer from 1991 until 2022 when his health began to decline. His contributions to that group will never be forgotten as he served as a mentor and role model to many area athletic administrators.

Bob always found the time and energy to remain active and contribute to the things he was most passionate about. Organizations such as Maine Sports Legends were extremely important to him. He was inducted into that organization’s Hall of Honors in 2005 and continued to work with them as a member of their Board of Directors from 2006 until his passing. He worked tirelessly with the Retired Educators Association as the Chair of the Pre-Retirement Committee and on the Executive Committee. He traveled the state to give presentations, to assist those preparing for retirement, and to promote the work of the group. Bob was recognized for his work with this group by being named an MEA Honorary Member in 2016. He also gave of his time as the president of his class at Springfield College, keeping alumni connected and helping with the organization of class reunions and other special events.

Bob lived a life of service and found great satisfaction in serving others and giving of his time and resources. He is survived by Karen (Bates) White his wife of 57 years, his son Mark White and his wife Jennifer Bourassa, his daughter Susan, sister-in-law Rae Bates, and her husband, David Michaud.

The family wishes to extend their sincere appreciation to the nurses and doctors at Cary Medical Center for taking such great care of him and his family in his final days. Special thank yous to Dr. Carl Flynn and Dr. Dan Harrigan for their care and focus on keeping him comfortable.

A service of remembrance and celebration of a life well lived will be held at 4:00 PM on Friday, March 31, 2023, at Gray Memorial United Methodist Church in Caribou. A reception for more storytelling and sharing of memories will follow at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center.

In lieu of flowers people are invited to donate to the Bread of Life Soup Kitchen (62 Collins Street, Caribou, ME 04736) in Bob’s memory.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert P. White, please visit our flower store.

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