Stephen Gale Perrin, 86, of Bar Harbor, passed away on Feb. 19, 2019, at MDI Hospital supported by family and friends after years of failing health.
Born on Oct. 4, 1932, in Utica, N.Y., to parents, Dorothy Merchant Perrin and Porter Gale Perrin, Steve was the middle of three sons. He was predeceased by his brothers Peter Anthony Perrin and William Burton Perrin as well as his son, Michael Gale Perrin. Steve is survived by his longtime partner Carole Beal, his sons Jesse Perrin and Ken Perrin, his daughter-in-law Linda Perrin, step children Jonathan Blake and Cyndi Stein, nieces Justine Updyke and Leslie Wilson and former wives Stephanie Perrin and Kathryn Wadsworth.
Steve had a diverse career as a photographer, teacher, writer and environmental activist. He served as a photographer in the U.S. Army in Germany from 1955-57. After returning home, he worked in the public relations department at the University of Iowa, as well as at the Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. Following in his father’s footsteps as an educator, he completed his doctorate in education at Boston University. As a teacher he worked at several schools including Abbott Academy, The Landmark School and the Walnut Hill School. A prolific writer, he authored several books about Acadia National Park including “Acadia, The Soul of a National Park.” Later in life he wrote about the nature of human consciousness.
From the age of 4, Steve and his extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins spent summers on Burying Island, a 30-acre undeveloped island in Taunton Bay that flows in and out of Frenchman Bay. Trips to Burying Island were the highlight of Steve’s life.
When Steve moved to Maine in 1986, he dedicated himself to studying and safeguarding Burying Island and its watershed. His efforts led to The Nature Conservancy in Maine purchasing 100 acres, including an active eagle’s nest, on the Taunton Bay shore; and to the formation of the Friends of Taunton Bay, from whom he was the first recipient of the Stephen G. Perrin Award for “recognition of extraordinary service to the health and integrity of Taunton Bay. Under his stewardship, Burying Island was protected by a conservation easement held by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
In 2009, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment recognized Steve by awarding him the Longard Gulf Volunteer Award. “It is given to an individual from one of the five states and provinces bordering the Gulf of Maine and recognizes individual commitment to volunteer programs dedicated to environmental protection and sustainability of natural resources.”
The Council wrote:
“A devoted and accomplished teacher, photographer and writer of uncommon eloquence, Steve’s educational efforts successfully integrate scientific knowledge with subtler insights that can be obtained only through a lifetime marked by curiosity, keen observation and a sense of wonder. How many people can claim they have chronicled the passing of a year, isolated in a log cabin on a 30-acre island, with the sole intent of experiencing nature unhindered by modern encumbrances and sharing these experiences freely with the public?”
Steve served on Maine Audubon’s Board of Directors, worked as volunteer coordinator and editor at Acadia National Park, and in his own time, created a watershed map of Acadia and Mount Desert Island, which he donated to the park. He was a founding member of the Frenchman Bay Conservancy, which now protects over 8,000 acres of land in Hancock County.
Steve was a longtime member of Acadia Friends Meeting on Mount Desert Island. He also served on the board of the MDI and Ellsworth Housing Authorities representing residents of Malvern Belmont Estates in Bar Harbor, where he lived for over two decades. He was honored with an award for his service.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 23, 2019, at 2 p.m. at Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor, under the care of Acadia Friends Quaker Meeting. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Friends of Taunton Bay, P.O. Box 411, Hancock, ME 04640 or Friends of Acadia, P.O. Box 45, Bar Harbor, ME 04609.