In this June 2018 photo, Oceanside first baseman Kalli Grover prepares to tag out Brewer's Jordan Goodrich (10) during the Class B North softball championship game. Umpire Dennis Harmon (rear) looks on. Harmon died recently at age 75. Credit: Pete Warner / BDN

If you followed high school sports in eastern Maine, you knew who Denny Harmon was.

His resume in several facets of high school athletics was extensive.

Harmon died on May 22 from complications following a fall at his camp on Green Lake in Ellsworth. He was 75.

Harmon previously served as the athletic director at Sumner Memorial High School in East Sullivan, where he had coached cross country, soccer, basketball and softball. He went on to become a baseball and softball umpire as well as a basketball and soccer referee.

Dennis Harmon Credit: Courtesy photo

He was still umpiring softball this spring.

“He is really going to be missed,” Bangor High School athletic director Steve Vanidestine said. “He was always friendly and he was so consistently positive.

“I remember when he was the AD at Sumner and we would have our [Penobscot Valley Conference] meetings. He was always willing to help you out,” Vanidestine said.

Tracie Martin, a longtime athletic administrator and sports official, was Harmon’s neighbor on Green Lake.

“He helped me out a lot when I first got involved in umpiring and refereeing,” Martin said. “He mentored a lot of people.”

Veteran Bucksport High softball coach Mike Carrier said Harmon was a consistent umpire who had a good rapport with coaches and athletes alike.

“He was a great guy,” Carrier said, noting his support of Harmon as a playoff umpire. “He was always happy. He loved the kids. He would always interact with the catchers.”

He won the State Award of Merit, a national award given to the top athletic director in each state.

“We all looked up to Denny. He was a man of few words but he was a leader and treated everyone with respect. He did a lot of things for a lot of people. He was a role model,” Mount Desert Island athletic director Bunky Dow said.

Harmon received a special soccer refereeing honor last August when he was named the recipient of the Bob White Award. It was established in 2014 and is given by the Maine Association of Soccer Officials to the referee who best exemplifies traits White exhibited: knowledge, integrity and dedication.

“That’s why he did it so long. He loved what he was doing,” Martin said.

Brewer High softball coach Skip Estes said his players were comfortable playing in games umpired by Harmon.

“He was always very polite and personable,” Estes said.

“It was a shock to us,” he said of Harmon’s passing.

Former Ellsworth High School boys soccer coach Brian Higgins coached against Harmon. The two later became charter members of the Acadia Soccer Board for referees in the Down East region.

Harmon refereed several of Higgins’ games over the years and Higgins pointed out that in addition to being a well-respected soccer referee, Harmon had been a good coach.

“He always had them well-prepared for us. You had to be on your toes,” Higgins said. “It was always a pretty hard fight but it was also a friendly competition and we’d all shake hands after the game and compliment each other.

Higgins said Harmon enjoyed a good laugh and would always take time before a softball game to come over to the coaches to ask them how they and their teams were doing.

Martin said he was a wonderful neighbor.

“He loved being out on his boat,” Martin said. “He enjoyed doing stuff.”

She said there was a nearby cabin on the lake that was a rental and when a family would arrive, Harmon would go over and welcome them and take them for boat rides.