Gordon Strout, a dedicated English teacher and theater director at Gorham High School who was esteemed by his students, died on March 30 after a brief illness. He was 70.

Mr. Strout taught English, British literature and theater at Gorham High for more than 20 years. He was also a longtime adviser for the student council. One year, the students dedicated the yearbook to him. He retired in 2006.

He was remembered by colleagues Thursday as a popular teacher who brought energy and enthusiasm to the classroom.

John Caterina, a science teacher at Gorham High, said Strout brought his lessons to life.

“He was very energetic,” Caterina said. “The kids really liked him. He had a lot of students who looked up to him and respected him greatly.”

As head of the school’s theater department, Mr. Strout directed a range of performances, from one act plays to elaborate musicals.

Colleagues said he had a gift for recruiting students who weren’t interested in the theater program. Some of those students went on to become stars of the show.

An excerpt from Mr. Strout’s obituary said he always packed the house.

“His high standards and attention to detail were evident in every production, from direction to technical areas of lighting, set design and costuming,” the obituary said. “He gave his productions the respect and seriousness of purpose he felt they deserved, always turning up in a full-dress tuxedo for the final night.”

Mr. Strout was the partner of Barrie Johnson for nearly 40 years. The couple lived in Naples and spent winters in Sarasota, Florida. They previously lived in Raymond.

Johnson shared memories Tuesday of meeting Strout for the first time. She hired him as sailing director at Dr. Johnson’s camps in Casco. He was later named waterfront director.

“His background was wonderful,” she recalled. “He was a people person. When I first met him, he looked like a scraggly sailor. He just got off a charter bringing a boat up from the Caribbean. He apologized for his appearance. I was a little taken aback. As soon as he opened his mouth, I could tell he was genuine.”

Mr. Strout was the father of two sons, Adam Strout of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, and Benjamin Strout of Los Angeles.

He had a passion for life and lived it to its fullest. He enjoyed sailing, hiking and telling stories by the campfire. He loved spending time with his sons and triplet grandsons.

“He was a great father and grandfather to my boys,” said Adam Strout. “We always made sure we spent lots of time together, whether at Sebago Lake, camping or sailing. … He was as good a father as I could have hoped for.”

Mr. Strout recently became sick. Johnson said he went in for a routine colonoscopy and doctors discovered a growth. He recently started chemotherapy.

He collapsed at Portland International Jetport while waiting for his flight back to Florida. His partner, sons and daughter-in-law were with him when he died.

“I miss him,” Johnson said.

A full obituary is expected to be published in the coming days. Services in Maine will be private.

 

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