WINSLOW — Wearing a helmet, gloves and light jacket, Jim Good mounted his bicycle on a sunny Saturday morning in front of Winslow High School and prepared to pedal 40 miles to remember his good friend, colleague and former teacher.

It was a ride that he thinks Gary Osborn — a fellow science teacher who died recently of esophageal cancer — would have enjoyed.

“He’d be tickled pink,” Good said. “He always exercised, took care of his health, and he could really appreciate this. He would do it; he’d be excited. He had a great personality.”

Good was among 15 bicyclists and 20 motorcyclists on Saturday who made the trek, dubbed “Three towns, Two Wheels, One Cause,” to raise money for a science scholarship for students in Osborn’s memory. The ride was 45 miles each way, for a round-trip total of about 90 miles.

Riders included current and former school staff, former students and their friends or fellow bike club members.

Riders raised about $4,500 in pledges, according to event organizers Joan Pierce, head of the high school science department, and Terry Atwood, the assistant principal.

Osborn, 67, died Sept. 23 after he was diagnosed with cancer this summer and given less than two months to live. A beloved teacher, Osborn taught at Winslow High School for 43 years.

Good, who was one of Osborn’s students, graduated from Winslow High School in 1971 and returned to teach chemistry alongside Osborn 10 years ago. Good is also a member of the Central Maine Bicycle Club and brought along for the ride two fellow club members, Denise Crowell, of Manchester, and Brian Bowker, of Norridgewock.

Good said he came out to ride to honor the “the passing of someone so influential in our community.”
The riders left Saturday morning from Winslow High School — following orange flyers along the way reading “Ride 4 Gary” — and arrived for lunch at Bowen’s Tavern on Route 137 in Belfast. They then convened for a dedication ceremony at a park near the shore in Belfast, as did Osborn’s wife, Sheila.

Two bicyclists who participated in the ride, Laurie McReel and husband John Poirier, of Oakland, said they were there to support Sheila, who works at Poirier’s dental office.

“She’s a sweetheart and he was a wonderful guy. He was a super guy,” McReel said. “We bike a lot, so it’s fun when you get to do this kind of thing. It really means something.”
Poirier said Osborn’s sudden diagnosis was tragic.

“It’s a horrible thing to happen to anybody,” he said. “We’re just here to show our support for Sheila a for what Gary represents to the school.

“I think he represents excellence in what a teacher should be. He was just very, very dedicated to what he did. I think that showed and the product he put out — the students he put out. I think they appreciate it and the community should appreciate what he represents.”

School officials renamed the science wing after Osborn just before he died and quickly planned the scholarship, which will be awarded at the end of the school year to a high-achieving student who plans to major in chemistry, or science, at a four-year college.

Another fundraising event for Osborn’s scholarship, an evening of ice skating, is planned Oct. 22 at Sukee Arena.

Pierce, the school science department head, said she hopes the bike ride becomes an annual event that grows in participation to raise money for the Gary Osborn scholarship. Pierce said she would like to move future bike rides back into September, perhaps closer to the day Osborn died.

“It’s a day for celebration,” Pierce said. “It’s a day to celebrate what he did, celebrate the good part of it, and not be sad anymore.”

Scott Monroe — 861-9239
[email protected]

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