OWLS HEAD – Casper Ciaravino, 88, died Oct. 29, 2004, at Penobscot Bay Medical Center, Rockport, with his family by his side. Born in New York City, Dec. 8, 1915, he was the eldest of four children of Vincenzo and Camilla Mione Ciaravino. His parents were first generation Americans who emigrated from the fishing village of Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, in their early twenties, via Ellis Island. His parents settled in a tenement in what was then the multi-ethnic Lower East Side of Manhattan, where they raised two sons and two daughters. Casper’s father worked as a longshoreman and his mother as a seamstress in the garment district. Casper enjoyed referring to himself as a “Sicilian boy from Manhattan.” He pursed an early passion for sports and physical fitness at Savage College of Physical Education in New York City, graduating in 1939. In 1940, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree at Ithaca College, Ithaca, N.Y. After being inducted into the United States Army, after basic training, he earned the rank of Sergeant. In Feb., 1942, he attended Infantry Officers Candidate School, achieving the rank of Captain. He served in two campaigns in Northern France and Germany and was decorated with a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. At the time of his discharge in 1946, Mr. Ciaravino had advanced to the rank of 2nd Leuitenant. Returning to civilian life, Casper attended New York University where he earned a Masters degree in Education. He then began his teaching career at Blue Point Elementary School in Blue Point, N.Y. It was during the summer school vacations that Casper first came to Maine. He, his brother-in-law, Charles Senia, and his brother, Anthony Ciaravino owned and ran the Owls Head Boys Camp on Ballyhac Road in Owls Head. He was introduced to his future wife, Helen Mae Ross, an Owls Head native by one of his campers, Paul Ross, Helen’s nephew. They settled in the Ross family home in Owls Head where they raised their two children. Helen and Casper shared a love of vegetable and flower gardening, improving their home and yard, chopping wood, boating on coastal Maine waters, lobstering, ice-skating, and hiking the Maine woods. Helen and Casper were married for 53 years until her death in April 2003. Casper had a 25-year career as a school administrator in the local school districts of SAD 5 and later SAD 28. His first position was as principal of South School in Rockland from 1949 to 1953, where he also coached sports. He next assumed the position of Elementary Supervisor for the Rockland School Department until the formation of SAD 5 in 1964, when he became the Assistant Superintendent for the District. From 1966 until his retirement in 1974, he served as superintendent of schools for SAD 28. In a newspaper interview at the time of his retirement he described his philosophy of education: “Teaching is both an art and a science. The science part may be learned. The ability to inspire students is a gift – without it you can’t have a great teacher.” Casper, himself, was a great intuitive teacher who taught by example and never asked anyone to do anything he hadn’t tried himself first. He inspired many students, teachers and members of the local community over the years, not only academically and through local schools but also at the Camden Snow Bowl, the Samoset Fitness Center and through Elderhostel programs. He had a gift for making connections with people and took pride and pleasure in motivating them to set their sights high and to achieve their dreams. An early retirement at 59 afforded Casper the opportunity to pursue his life long interest in fitness and outdoor recreation and he continued to inspire others with his vigor and love of the out of doors. In a newspaper interview at the time he stated: “I decided that I wasn’t going to rust out. I’m going to wear out.” At age 63, he was the oldest person to date to complete the rigorous, soul-testing 26-day Hurricane Island Outward Bound offshore survival course. “Aging”, Casper said, “is a state of mind”. He then led a program at Georges Valley High School modeled after the Outward Bound philosophy for 22 students at risk of academic failure. The program began with a week long journey on two 30 foot pulling boats, often sleeping at sea with oars for beds and beginning the mornings with a run on one of the Maine islands and an invigorating dip in Penobscot Bay. Casper’s love of outdoor adventure led him to participate in and latter lead Elderhostel programs in cross-country skiing, backpacking and canoeing. He climbed Mt. Katahdin several times, backpacked portions of the Appalachian Trail, downhill skied at Sugarloaf, the Rockies and the Austrian Alps and canoed the Allagash River. He was a certified Nautilus instructor and a Registered Maine Guide. Casper was active in many civic and community organizations throughout the years. He was a past president of Rockland Kiwanis Club, Rockland District Nursing Association and the Maine Supervisors Association. Despite a debilitating stroke at age 80, Casper retained his independent spirit and continued to create meaningful new relationships. The last year and a half of his life, following his wife’s death, he was cared for at home by three care providers who became lasting friends; Ellen Starr, Debra Burch and Kate Wolfe. Casper was predeceased by his wife Helen Ross Ciaravino; his son, Vincent Ciaravino; and a sister, Amelia Massiello. He leaves his daughter, Carol Ross Ciaravino; his son-in law, Grantley Taylor, M.D.; and two grandsons, Marco Ciaravino Taylor, and Jacob Ciaravino Taylor, all of Brookline, Mass.; he also leaves a sister, Rose Senia of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and a brother, Anthony Ciaravino of Owls Head; as well as six nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland. A luncheon will be held at the Ciaravino home in Owls Head immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers please send donations to the scholarship fund of the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, 75 Mechanic St., Rockland, ME. 04841