Jay D. Scribner passed away on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at his home in Dallas, Texas, surrounded by his four children. A father, grandfather, educator, mentor and friend to many, Jay is remembered as a loving, intelligent, down to earth soul who enjoyed a good time and detested injustice.
Jay was born in Ellsworth and spent time throughout his childhood in various places across the state, including Ellsworth, Portland, Scarborough, Eastport, Northeast Harbor and Seal Harbor before graduating high school. He personified resilience and grace, living in 15 homes throughout his childhood. The one constant was his love of learning and basketball, both of which kept him focused on staying in school and going to college. His love and value for family and community were instilled early in life, having been cared for and supported by grandparents on both sides of his family, his Aunt Bernice and Uncle Yale, and innumerable members of the MDI community through his high school years.
In 1961, on a chance encounter, he met the love of his life, Alicia Paredes. A year later, after a long-distance relationship by correspondence with Alicia and her father, he embarked on his first trip via plane, and first trip out of New England, to marry Alicia in Los Angeles in 1962. Together they lived in East Winthrop; Palo Alto and Los Angeles, Calif.; Boston, Mass.; Penn Valley, Pa., Austin and Dallas, Texas, returning each summer to his favorite place on Earth, Seal Harbor.
After graduating from Farmington Teachers College, Jay started his career as a teaching-principal in a three-room schoolhouse in Troy. He became a middle school principal in Auburn, after getting his master’s at the University of Maine, Orono. Soon after he was married and had his first child, he and his wife left Maine for Palo Alto, Calif., where he pursued his doctorate in education administration at Stanford University. Jay started a career as a professor at UCLA in 1965, where he developed and secured federal funding for an innovative program that prepared leaders for urban schools in Los Angeles. During his stint at UCLA, he was awarded the Alfred North Whitehead Fellowship, affording him the opportunity to study at Harvard for a year. In 1975, he was recruited to Philadelphia’s Temple University to lead the College of Education as dean, where he led the development of programs in partnership with Philadelphia School District as well as in Nigeria and Tokyo. As an administrator and dean, he always treated everyone with great dignity, and those he supervised in turn maintained fierce loyalties toward him. Eventually, he moved to Texas for an endowed professorship at UT Austin in 1989. Throughout his entire career, he made a mark at these institutions locally and abroad aimed at diversifying the leadership ranks in education and improving conditions for underserved student populations. In doing so, he mentored students across the country and beyond who themselves make a difference as leaders in the field of education.
But, beyond a remarkable career, he was most at home in Seal Harbor, enjoying time with family and friends on his boat, “Seabbatical,” telling stories of his ancestors who were among the carpenters, home laundry and service staff to the families who summered on the island. He loved playing golf, watching old westerns and action movies, and for the last 35 years of his life had become a prolific artist, gifting his work to family and friends. His favorite subject matter were his grandchildren, Maine landscapes, Texas cowboy scenes and Mexican farm workers — all reflections of what he loved in this world.
Jay will be remembered by his children, Jay (Karen), Kent (Suleyka), Samantha and Connie (Ryan Shultz), grandchildren Pierce, Bo, Julian, Jacqueline, Sophia, Harper and Everett, and his step-grandchildren, Peyton, Carson, Giovanni and Santino. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Alicia, parents, Jay and Dorothy, brother Henry, his Aunt Bernice and Uncle Yale Pierce, and his parents-in-law, Luis and Consuelo Paredes.
A memorial service for Jay will be held 10 a.m., June 23, 2022, at Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert with the burial of Jay’s and his wife, Alicia’s, cremated remains immediately following at the Seal Harbor Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to make a donation by check, with a notation that it is in memory of Jay D. Scribner, to the Northeast Harbor Library, 1 Joy Road, P.O. Box 279, Northeast Harbor, ME 04662-0279.
Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.