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Albert Daniel DeRaspe (1946-2020)

Albert Daniel DeRaspe

MEXICO - Dan DeRaspe, a genuine force of nature, completed his many missions and suddenly left this physical plane on March 19, 2020, following a heart attack at age 73.

Father. Grandfather. Brother. Uncle. Educator. Master Sergeant. Entrepreneur. Leader. Protector. Guardian. Artist. Chef. Woodcutter. Outdoorsman. Sportsman. Motorcyclist. Collector. Prankster. Storyteller. Friend. His indomitable spirit and undeniable life force, now free of pain and struggle, has begun its next tour, helping supervise Heaven and protect us all in these unprecedented times.

Dan was born to a large family; the first son of Albert J. & Beatrice “HoneyBea†(Pocius) DeRaspe’s nine children, in Mexico, Maine. His childhood was infused with the spirit of family, faith, hard-work, street smarts, & service, which informed his entire life. He graduated Mexico High School, going on to obtain his Bachelor’s & Master’s degrees at the University of Maine Farmington. The first in his family to attend college, he possessed strong intelligence & curiosity, along with a passion for reading & life-long learning. Dan was a unique, non-conforming educator, foundationally impacting thousands of young students’ lives over his three decades at Mt. Blue Junior High School in Farmington, Maine. His huge classroom was a work of art, visually representing his love for American history and creatively engaging his pupils. Many remember him as their favorite teacher, sharing hilarious stories of his “antics†. Concurrent with his teaching career, Dan honorably served his country in the US Army (1969-2006), retiring as Master Sergeant (E8). One of his proudest accomplishments was besting men half his age in competitive soldiering at Jericho, Vermont’s’ Outdoor Winter Survival School, earning the coveted French Axe Award in his forties. His took great joy in leading and developing members of the Maine National Guard Mountain Company and at Bog Brook. Dan sought to prepare his family, students and soldiers for life, instilling lessons in perseverance, honor and integrity. A true original, he followed his own rules, to the bemusement of many.

Dan was strikingly handsome, charismatic, and a force in any room. His sphere of influence was larger than most, marked by his unique forms of deep love and fierce loyalty. He was very active in civic organizations, including the Lion’s Club, Knights of Columbus, and Elks Club. He was physically powerful & forever a man-in-motion. He relished the outdoors… building a family camp at Garland Pond with Ann, his former wife of 32 years, and mother of his children. He could often be found on his motorcycle, catamaran, boat, snowmobile or four-wheeler, exploring the world around him, stirring up trouble or finding peace. He knew his demons, came by them honestly, and always strived to overcome them and be his best self: “Drive On…†was his motto and he did. A spiritual man, he sought the invisible people & those in need; the hurting & alone, the hungry & scared, the widows & lost amongst us, and provided for them physically, emotionally, financially & spiritually. On nine occasions, life placed Dan as the only person between the death and life of a stranger; each time he answered the call, literally saving their lives. True story. As he reflected on his life recently, he took comfort in these parts of his journey. He recognized that his life had had deep purpose and meaning, even when it didn’t always make sense to him and he wished he’d been able to show his love differently to those closest to him. Dan was the original “Prepper,†fully prepared for any eventuality, the man you wanted beside you when things got real. Please stay with us now, Dad.

He is survived by his beloved & special grandson, Joshua DeRaspe (29), who meant the world to him & who showed up for Grandpa Dan, always & daily. He took great joy in his great granddaughters, Audrey (4) and Claira (2) and Joshua’s wife Kaitlyn, all of New Sharon. He leaves a large hole in the heart of his son Michael Daniel DeRaspe, his wife Amanda and their son John (6) of Scarborough and his daughter Kathy DeRaspe Baltes, her children Ellie (19), Meg (17) and Matthew (12) Baltes of Portland, and her partner Alexander McCann, of Cape Elizabeth. The Buotte family (Jackie and her tribe) are similarly heartbroken at the loss of their “Danny.†His deep friendship & love for Ann (Bohnson DeRaspe) Yorks, of Farmington, was steady for 54 years. He was predeceased by his young brother Mathew, and a late-in-life love, Colonel Diana Demers, of Yarmouth. He cared deeply for her daughters, Brigitte Knight & Heather Lonegan. He also held a special place in his heart for Chris Cook Leeman, Betsy Cook Norton, Bob Yorks, Aaron Baltes, Nancy Pinkham Riggs, Jim Young, Dave Bushie, & Teddy Tanguay. Also surviving are his many friends and cribbage buddies, members of the Bohnson clan, and his extended tribe of DeRaspes, including siblings Andrew (Carmel), Tommy (Topsham), Karen Gallant (Mexico), Agatha Martineau (Mexico), Marie (Poland), Jackie Buotte (Lamoine), Jen (Denmark) and herds of nieces, nephews and cousins. Due to pandemic circumstances, a full military funeral and interment at Augusta Veteran’s Cemetery will be announced in the future. Arrangements are under the care of Wiles Remembrance Center; Adams-McFarlane Chapel 137 Farmington Falls Rd. Farmington. A kind word may be left in his book of memories at www.wilesrc.com

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20 Responses »

  1. To all of Dan's family: So sorry to hear of Dan's passing. I had Mr. DeRaspe in school as a teacher, and he was one of the unforgettable. A very intelligent man, with a way of teaching that kept kids entertained as they learned. I couldn't help labeling him as a favorite. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this very sad time. He will be missed but never forgotten.

  2. Condolences to Dan’s family. I knew Dan from childhood to retirement. He was a many-faceted man. He was my friend, and I shall miss him. Dan, I’ll have a light touch to you, and I’ll see you soon.

  3. My condolences to Dan's family. I had him as a teacher for one class but that was enough to leave a lasting impression on me. He was very funny and charismatic. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him.

  4. I too had Dan as,a teacher , I ran into him a few years back and we talked for a few minutes, he was a very smart talented man. Dan you have earned your wings, fly high. R.I.P.

  5. Dan, was a legend in his own time, by just being Dan.
    Fly High My Friend

  6. Mr. DeRaspe was a terrific teacher - dedicated, engaging, and always entertaining. I'll never forget the car wash our social studies class held at the end of the school year so that we could celebrate with a lobster and clam feast.

  7. Mr. DeRaspe was a one of a kind teacher. Just his presence in the halls made you make sure he wasn't looking at you! Seeing him just last year, a group of his former students gave him a wow moment. My sincere thoughts to his entire family.

  8. Dan ( the man ) Deraspe was one of my teachers in Mt. Blue Junior High. His teaching style shook you up and made you think. There wasn't any falling asleep in his class! He had a way of teaching life lessons you'd never find in the textbook.

    He taught me how to play cribbage. We'd get in a game before first bell or during a free period. I will always cherish those memories.

    Remember this little gem " Speech is silver, but silence is golden. " ? I never really understood that until I had a child of my own. I reflect on that saying and realize it's the quiet moments between the noise that allow you think and reflect on what's important.

    I would like to thank his family for sharing him with all of us. He opened up my mind to see life differently. I'm sure there is no shortage of people with the same experience, wherever he was present.

    The last opportunity I had to see him was last Summer at Cushings Motorsports. He seemed tired and didn't feel well, but the old fire was still there just under the surface. My sincere hope is that he is free of all the burdens from this life and that he is enjoying himself playing cards or painting something beautiful!

    Travis Grindle
    Class of '88

  9. Mr. Deraspe has always been my favorite, and most memorable teacher. He was amazing, they don't make them like him anymore!

  10. I was also very fortunate to have Dan the man for a school teacher ,I always remained friends with him,over the years, he would always take the time to stop and talk with me. I admire, and looked up to him .my thoughts and prayers for all, RIP

  11. Worked with "Danbo" for many years at Mt. Blue. The writings above do say it all. Dan's electric personality was a perfect fit for those JHS kids he taught and entertained on a daily basis. He was big hearted always, complemented by a quirky sense of humor --- and he will be missed by all. RIP, Sargent, I know you'll those others in line.

  12. Class of 84❤

  13. So saddened to hear of his passing. Mr. Deraspe was one of my favorites, teaching us so much more than what was in our textbooks. Truly one of a kind!

  14. I worked at Mt. Blue Jr. High School with Dan for six years and always enjoyed his morning welcomes as I made my way to my room. He always kept an eye out for me and was a good person for me to mentor and learn from. I truly appreciated his sense of humor. We enjoyed several boat trips on the Kennebec River along with other adults from school. He had the biggest heart and lived life hard. Take care in heaven Dan.

  15. Dan was one of a kind and one of my favorites as well, The amount of people that feel the same way is a testament to the man Dan was. If one of his kids had a problem, no matter what it was, Dan had time to talk and offer guidance. He took the time to really connect with his students, something that is very rare these days. It always amazed me that years after having him as a teacher, If I saw him in public he always called me by name with no hesitation despite the amount of students he had had over the years and sincerely wanted to know how I was doing.

    It comes as no surprise to me that he was so loved and he will be sorely missed by many.

    Thanks for everything Mr. Deraspe!

  16. Condolences to Dan’s family and close friends.
    I worked with Dan at First National Stores while we were in college together and followed his career at Mt.Blue Jr. High while I taught in The Winslow and Skowhegan school systems.

  17. Dan painted Webb Lake on my barn door. Check it out at 10 Dixfield Road in Weld Maine. He was a fantastic artist. Great friend.

  18. My deepest condolences to Mr. DeRaspe's family. I have often thought back on the learning (and antics) in his class laughing and smiling to have had such a great teacher. They don't make men like him anymore.

  19. Paul and I send our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Dan. We didn't know him well, but our brief encounters of him were ones we will always remember. I was living in an apartment above Wiles Funeral Home in Dixfield when Dan entered the back door to meet with Rhonda. I was coming down my stairs and surprised to see a man standing inside. When he learned I lived upstairs, he literally shivered! We both had a good laugh. At that time he shared why he was there, we talked about the brevity of life and I saw tears in his eyes as he was grieving his loss. I didn't even know his name as he left.
    Some time later, my husband and I were having dinner in a restaurant in Mexico following church one Sunday and Dan was there as well. When he got up to leave, he commented on our devotion to one another. We introduced ourselves and I asked him how I might know him. I learned he was a teacher and his military background but then I remembered the charismatic man I had met in Dixfield as he entered the funeral home. He and Paul struck up a conversation and it was then I learned his name. We all left with smiles on our faces.
    He touched our lives that day and I pray we as well touched his. He exemplified the importance of reaching out to others with a kind word.
    May God bring comfort to all today and in the days to come.

  20. My condolences to some of the best people I’ve ever known.. his family

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