Ralph Carr, who spent most of his career in education as a guidance counselor at Hermon High School, was not a man who sought accolades for himself.
Carr was the person who advocated that the elementary school in town be named after former Hermon school Superintendent Patricia A. Duran, according to Town Councilor Anthony Reynolds.
“He was the main force behind renaming the school,” Reynolds, 66, said Friday. “He was always looking to care for other people.”
The first time Carr suggested naming the school after her, Duran said, “Absolutely not. There are too many other deserving people in this town.”
He brought it up again a few years later over Duran’s objection. The school was named for her in 2018.
“So, you see who won,” Duran said Friday.
He was the first guidance counselor at Hermon High School, a position from which he retired in 1999 after nearly three decades in that job, according to Reynolds. Reynolds, Duran and thousands of other students were influenced by Carr. Duran even babysat for Carr’s sons when she was a teenager.
“He encouraged me to go into education,” Duran said. “When I became principal of the high school, I was scared to death. Ralph sat down with me and reassured me that I could do the job.”
Reynolds said that he had a similar experience with Carr, who was elected to the town council and school board 11 times during his lifetime. It was his former guidance counselor who helped Reynolds learn the best way to fulfill his role on the school committee more than a decade ago.
“He showed me what to do,” Reynolds said. “He taught me about Robert’s Rules of Order and how to behave at the meetings.”
Carr’s son Joe Carr, 61, of Cumberland, Rhode Island, said that his dad was able to have a big impact on the small town, which was mostly a farming community in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
“He had a vision of what Hermon could be as it transitioned from an agricultural town to a community with business parks and modern schools,” he said. “He knew just about everybody in town and became invested in helping to improve the community while keeping the small-town lifestyle residents valued.”
Carr was a member of the Hermon Volunteer Rescue Squad and the Hermon Volunteer Fire Department. He also coached sports and served as a Boy Scouts leader. In 2011, Carr was instrumental in keeping the ambulance service from being merged with the fire department, which over the years, saved Hermon “a fortune,” Reynolds said.
Duran said that Carr was one of the most caring and compassionate educators she ever met.
“He had great compassion for kids,” she said. “He’d put his arm around any kid who was having some kind of trouble and steer them in the right direction. He was a father figure to so many young people. He truly cared.”
Carr is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ann “Nancy” of Hermon, sons Joe Carr, who was spokesperson for the University of Maine for years, and Mike Carr of Veazie, their five children and three great grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Mary Catholic Church at 768 Ohio St. in Bangor, with burial to follow at Mount Pleasant Catholic Cemetery.
Friends may call between 5 and 7 p.m. at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor.