SULLIVAN — Quite a number of people have stories to tell about Steve Lane, a longtime teacher who died at home Saturday. Here’s one from 1985:
It was spring. Mountain View School’s baseball season had just ended. Dan Rayner, a young student, walked into Lane’s class.
“I remember coming into his classroom after baseball season my eighth-grade year to receive a special gift from him. In a wrapped box, there was the game ball from every game I pitched that season. On each baseball he had written the date, the team we played, the score, and all the stats (hits, walks and strikeouts) I had. At that time, being 14 years old, I felt on top of the world. That’s just how he would make you feel. He would do these kinds of things that no other teacher would do.”
Gordon Harrington’s story goes back even farther. He and Lane went to kindergarten together.
“He was quite a good friend of mine,” Harrington said Tuesday. Lane and Harrington attended Sumner Memorial High School together. They were co-captains in 1969 when Sumner won its first Eastern Maine Basketball Championship.
Even back then, Lane’s career path was well known.
“There was no question in high school,” Harrington said. “You could tell that’s where he was headed. He always had it in mind that he wanted to teach.”
Lane began his teaching career in 1973 right out of the University of Maine. He was 21. He started at the former Sullivan Grammar School, then moved to Mountain View School. He taught middle school for 41 years.
“There are teachers who really do make a difference and have an impact on the lives of their students,” Rayner continued. “Mr. Steve Lane was one of those teachers. I know this because I’m a person who was influenced and affected by his teaching. I truly believe if you were to ask 100 former students of his, 99 would say he was their favorite teacher.
“During recess at school, he would gather all the girls who wanted to play football and play against the boys. I don’t ever remember the boys winning.”
Rayner, who is now 48 years old, still has those baseballs Mr. Lane gave him.
“Oh, and did I forget to say that he was my favorite teacher?”
A memorial service will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Sumner Memorial High School.