BANGOR, Maine — Well-known coach, educator and former legislator Nathaniel J. Crowley Sr. died Friday at the age of 98 at the Maine Veterans’ Home.

Crowley Sr. was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, on May 14, 1917. He graduated from the University of Maine in 1942. While there, he earned nine varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball, according to his obituary published Saturday in the Bangor Daily News.

Crowley Sr. served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II as a top-turret gunner in B-24s. Following his service, Crowley Sr. taught and coached at Stearns, John Bapst, Deering and Lewiston high schools.

His coaching success included undefeated seasons in football and Western A Championships in basketball. His Lewiston High School team reached the finals in the 1960 New England basketball tournament.

Crowley Sr. was elected to the Sports Halls of Fame at John Bapst Memorial High School, Lewiston High School, the University of Maine Hall of Fame, the Maine State Hall of Fame and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

“He was a very successful coach,” his son and namesake, Nathaniel J. Crowley Jr. of Hampden, said Saturday. “He knew young people and was able to relate to them. He always had a good repertoire with his players. I can attest to that because I was one of his players.”

John Norris, 85, of Brewer remembers watching Crowley Sr. play basketball with the semiprofessional team the Bangor Potters in the late 1940s.

“I always looked forward to watching him play,” Norris, who also is a member of the University of Maine Hall of Fame, said Saturday. “He was a gifted athlete and had some good, good mentors.”

After retiring from coaching and teaching to Stockton Springs, Crowley Sr. served from 1980 to 1992 in the Maine House of Representatives. The district also included the towns of Winterport and Searsport. He served on the Education and Marine Resources committees, according to his son.

“Nat was as serious about his politics as he was about his sports,” James Tierney, former Maine attorney general and Democratic candidate for governor in 1986, said in an email Saturday. “He was dedicated, determined and principled. He hit every issue straight on, and with Esther at his side, the two of them were fearsome in their advocacy. He was a great man and citizen of Maine.”

A staunch Democrat, Crowley Sr. set aside partisanship on St. Patrick’s Day when he and his wife rented a hall in the Augusta area and held a large celebration, his son said.

“There was Irish music and a toast or two,” Crowley Jr. said. “It was always non-partisan and everyone was Irish and welcome.”

Life for Crowley Sr. revolved around his wife of 72 years, Esther Whitman Crowley of Dover-Foxcroft, and the couple’s 10 children, Crowley Jr. said.

“Everything was about family,” he said. “Our motto is family first, family forever, family always.”

Crowley Sr. is survived by eight of his children and their spouses, 25 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, two daughters, Kathy Fuller of Hallowell and Anita Christie of California, and a great-granddaughter, Mackenzie Crowley.

A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. John Catholic Church on York Street in Bangor. Gifts in his memory may be made in his name to the Maine Veterans’ Home, Unit E, 44 Hogan Road, Bangor, 04401.