GARDINER — Arthur Robert Warren, 72, of High Holborn Street, Gardiner, died Sunday, July 14, at home after battling ALS for several years.

He was born June 23, 1941, in Brunswick, the son of Robert and Josephine Warren. Artie, as he was known to his friends, attended public schools in Topsham and Brunswick. As a trumpet player in the school bands and as a standout basketball and baseball player he developed a life-long love for music and athletics. Graduating from Brunswick High School in 1959, Artie continued his education and athletic careers at the University of Maine at Orono, where he played basketball for Brian McCall, captaining his senior team and setting a rebounding record that lasted for nearly two decades. Artie also pitched for the Black Bear baseball team under legendary coach, Jack Butterfield, before finishing his collegiate athletic career as a broad jumper and triple jumper for the track and field team. Artie was also a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and the University Brass Ensemble.

Graduating from the University of Maine in 1963 with a B.S. in education. Artie remained in Maine and began a 45-year career as a teacher, school administrator, and coach, first at Winthrop High, where his teams consistently appeared in the post-season tournaments, before moving on to Gardiner Area High School in 1967 to coach basketball, tennis and cross country. As head basketball coach at Gardiner, Artie had several strong teams, the best of which was the 1974, 17-1, Eastern Maine tournament team. He also spent several summers coaching with Boston Celtics Hall of Famer Sam Jones at his basketball camp in Massachusetts. Artie also continued to play basketball as a member of the semi-pro Augusta Area All-Stars. As his basketball playing days drew to a close they were quickly replaced by recreational tennis, competitive canoe racing with longtime friend Bruce Bell, and running, which became nothing short of a passion and found Artie competing in numerous 3K, 5K, and 10K road races, as well as the New York City and Casco Bay marathons.

The mid-70s saw Artie’s career begin to shift away from the classroom and gymnasiums and more towards an administrative role in the Gardiner school system. After earning a Masters of Education degree from the University of Maine, Artie assumed the position of principal at Central Street elementary school. After earning a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Superintendency in 1980, Artie became the principal of the Gardiner Regional Middle School, the position he held for 28 years before retiring in 2008.

Surprisingly, Artie returned to the coaching ranks in the final years of his life, serving as an assistant and scout for current Gardiner High School head coach, Jason Cassidy. He spoke often and with great pride about the character and heart of the players on those teams and was thrilled to be on the sidelines at the Bangor Auditorium as the 2011-2012 team played for the State Championship, the first Gardiner team ever to do so.

An avid reader, Artie was seldom more than arms-length away from a book, as the voluminous quantities of tomes in his personal library will attest. His love for reading became a passion that he passed on to his sons and strove daily to instill in the life of every student he came in contact with. Artie could routinely be found reading to students in the school libraries and was so moved and honored when the Gardiner Regional Middle School Library was named after him.

Although well-known for his athletic exploits, Artie was so much more than a “dumb jock,” and could easily quote a line from Shakespeare or Tennyson with one breathe and transition into an explanation of the three-quarter court, run and jump, man-to-man press with the next. Completely dedicated to the philosophy of life-long learning, there were few subjects that failed to peak Artie’s interest to some degree. However, the history of the Civil War was his forte, and he was we’ll known to favor many an ice-fishing companion with stories and trivia questions of his personal favorites, such as Joshua Chamberlain…”Hey, who had 6 horses shot out from under him…anyone?”

Artie dedicated himself to the education profession with the same fierce determination and competitiveness that he displayed on the basketball court. The kids were always the priority with him — there were never any bad kids, only kids with potential of varying degrees. Artie was an inspiration and mentor to countless students, and by example taught so many how to live and, ultimately, how to die.

No story of Art Warren would be complete without mention of fishing. Artie loved the many hours he spent with friends and his brother Brian catching salmon on Rangeley Lake, togue on Moosehead and Schoodic lakes, or fly fishing for trout on the Kennebego and stripers on the Kennebec River. It’s safe to say that there were times in Artie’s life when his brain was occupied with two tasks…keeping his heart beating and thinking about fishing. When it came to having the ability to steer any conversation back towards fishing, Artie knew no peer. He loved to tie flies and was quick to take credit for any catch made using one of his creation, his favorite being “The Nelson,” which he created and named in honor of his longtime friend and fishing buddy, Jim Nelson. Artie rarely met a body of water, frozen or not, that he didn’t either try to fish or at least think about fishing. He fished fresh and salt waters from New England to Florida and was fortunate enough to take a fishing trip of a life-time to Alaska with his brother, Brian.

Artie believed that, ultimately, the only thing that truly mattered was family. He was immensely proud of his sons and grandsons, and would spend countless hours traveling to games, concerts, karate shows, and graduations from Maine to New Hampshire, to Massachusetts and Illinois. As with his students, he was a mentor and role model for his grandsons, whether it be offering a fishing tip, or writing an encouraging email to a grandson who might need a little boost in confidence. Just as he did with his sons, Artie would stand quietly and proudly on the sidelines, not caring about the score, and watch his grandsons play with the same joy that he played with for so many years. He made all the games he could. When his legs failed he used a wheelchair. When he no longer could leave the house, he watched the soccer and lacrosse games and track meets on his iPad….and god help the son that failed to “call in” the boxscore of a grandson’s game within an hour of the final whistle.

Artie is survived by his wife of 51 years, Catherine. Sons and daughters-in-law, Barrett and Karen Warren of Georgetown, Mass., Brian and Mary Fran (Oehler) Warren of Rockford, IL, and Brett Warren and Toby Cappello of Derry, N.H.; grandsons Benjamin, Jared, Charles, James, Zachary, and Matthew; brother Brian and his wife Rolanda of Rangeley; uncle Josiah Collins of Topsham, and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A memorial service will be held Friday, July 19, 1p.m. at the Gardiner Regional Middle School, 161 Cobbossee Ave., Gardiner.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be sent to either the Portland Walk for ALS (contact Brett Warren at: [email protected] for details) or send donations to HealthReach Hospice & Volunteers of Kennebec Valley.




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