Gerald Curtis Kane Sr., age 84, passed away on Aug. 29, 2020, surrounded by his family as he always was. We affectionately remember his gregarious personality, the original “Champ Kane.”
Born in Ellsworth July 6, 1936, Gerry was the loving son to the late Ira and Effie Kane. On Oct. 21, 1962, Gerry and Leona “Hubbert” were joined in marriage. Their years were shared together in devotion and commitment. Gerry lovingly called Leona his “darling,” always content in his beautiful wife’s presence.
Gerry was raised and educated locally, attending EHS. He was class president, Assembly Club president, and was a varsity club member. Gerry had a deep love for sports and participated in basketball, football and baseball during his education at Ellsworth High. During his senior year, he was team captain of all three. Gerry was an outstanding football player and was elected to the All Little Ten conference team. In baseball, Gerry played on two state championship runner-up teams and had the accomplishment of playing with many semi-pro teams and semi-pro players. Gerry also played varsity basketball for three years, as part of some of the finest teams the Eagles have ever seen. Coached by the legendary Charlie Katsiaficas, the team won two state championships in 1953-1954. Gerry was known for his impressive speed and his half-court shot at the Boston Garden during the 1954 New England Tournament that went down in Eagles history forever. Gerry was voted Best Athlete in his graduating class of 1955, as well as Outstanding Student. After graduating at the top of his class, Gerry served with the 8th Engineer Battalion Marines. As Cpl. Gerald C. Kane, his service is admirably recognized. During his service, he was involved in the basketball, football and fast-pitch softball teams. He displayed brilliant ability on and off the court and was elected the Team Leadership Award. Gerry was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1962.
After his time in the service, Gerry continued his sports career at Husson University. Gerry was a starter for three years, with his highest scoring basketball game at 39 points. He scored an average of 20 points per game. He was a key player in bringing home the Northeast College Championship. At the end of his college basketball career, he had an impressive 800 points to his name. He was also a member of Husson’s baseball team, once having a batting average of .500 during a year. The team went on to win the Northeast Championship, with Gerry the incredible shortstop. He was Kapa Delta Phi and earned a degree in business administration. He was presented the Nelson Degrasse Award and would often describe coach Del Merrill as the most influential coach and the great respect he held for him. Gerry went on to become a basketball coach himself, along with teaching at Sumner High School in 1962. He became athletic director along with being the baseball, cross-country and golf coach. During his 10-year baseball coaching career, he held the record of 121 wins against 26 losses for an 82 percent winning percentage. His teams won several league championships and two Eastern Maine Championships. While coaching cross-country, his team won the Eastern Regional Championship. With his passion for basketball, coaching was just the next step. He coached his basketball team to a 45-consecutive-game winning streak, marking Sumner on the map in 1969. Gerry led the Tigers to five consecutive Eastern Maine Class C titles and two state titles. Gerry coached some of the finest at Sumner, one of those star players being Bimbo Pinkham. Gerry saw Bimbo’s potential and thought of him as a tremendous athlete and person. Coach Kane went on to become head basketball coach at Bucksport High in 1974. He led his Bucks to their Eastern Maine title in 1978 and again in 1979. With his Sumner and Bucksport teams, Gerry saw a total of 17 tournaments, winning a total of nine Eastern Maine tournaments and four state titles. His overall record being 329 wins against 106 losses shows his natural ability and heart for sports.
Because of his talent, he received Eastern Maine Coach of the Year in 1979. He was a basketball official for 20 years and a member of the State Basketball Commission in 1980-1981. Gerry’s impressive merits and achievements will be displayed at his service in the summer of 2021. Gerry loved to coach. Some athletes he thought of often are the following: Bimbo Pinkham, Jay Moore, Keith Ogden, Isom Sargent, Wade Sargent, Dan Wentworth, Wayne Mishou, Dennis Hopkins, Roger Lane, Tom Lane, John Shoppe and manager Kerry Crowley, MD.
In the years after Gerry’s sports career, in 2004 he was inducted into Maine’s Sports Legends, along with Husson’s Hall of Fame. The most influential people in Gerry’s life helped him to become who we will always know him by, a Champ. Some of those people include: His mother, who had many children but always had enough love to go around along with her famous desserts. His father, who owned a lumber mill where Gerry learned to become a fine lumberjack and a man of strength. His eldest brother Ira “Sonny,” who was Gerry’s biggest inspiration in all things athletic. Beverly, Gerry’s sister, who supported his early sports career by carrying his books home while he was at practice. His sister, Pete, who made her scrapbooks to memorialize every event. Daughter Beverly, who was his basketball manager. Leona, his loving wife, who he built his life with.
In 1984, Gerry and Leona built a motel in Trenton, Leona’s Motel. It is still operated and owned by family today. Leona and Gerry along with their youngest, Timothy, would divide their time between Florida and Trenton. While in Florida they enjoyed golfing, boating, fishing and Disney World.
Gerry was very fond of his granddaughter Hildie. Leona and Gerry cherished their bond with her, as Hildie did in return. They never missed a milestone and will forever love her to the moon and back.
Gerry’s youngest granddaughter Paige was always helpful. Gerry and Leona loved her daily visits.
Gerry is survived by: Daughters Audrey Kane and Beverly Kane Richardson; sons Timothy Kane and wife, Alicia, Jerry Kane Jr., Foster Kane and Wayne Kane; grandchildren Hildie and Brandon Bunker, Paige Bennett, Dylan Kane, Lyam Kane and April Kane. He is also survived by siblings Beverly Blanch Field, Marilyn (Pete) Turnbell, Audrey Ryder, Elloise Falvey, Elaine Roth, Gregory Kane and Jasper Kane.
Gerry was predeceased by his parents, Effie and Ira Kane Sr., his darling wife, Leona, loving father and mother-in-law Leo and Hilda Hubbert, siblings Richard Kane, Ira “Sonny” Kane and Suzie Buzzell and grandchildren Wayne MB Kane Jr. and Jessica Kane.
Gerry is most proud of his son, Timothy, and his career with the Maine DOT. Timothy, only 36, will greatly miss his legendary father. Timothy shared a special loving bond with his parents that Tim will cherish in his heart forever. Gerry’s daughter Audrey was a blessing to her parents. She devoted her life to making Gerry’s and Leona’s lives a little easier every day. They were so proud to call her their daughter. It will always be a blue Christmas without our loving Gerald and Leona. We will miss you both.