CAROLINE D. GENTILE – PRESQUE ISLE – Caroline D. Gentile, 84, passed away peacefully Friday, Sept. 19, 2008, at her home. Caroline was born Jan. 24, 1924, in Newton, Mass., the daughter of Gerardo and Donata Bucchelli Gentile. She graduated from Newton High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Sargent College, a master’s from New York University, and completed further graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. In 1996, in honor of her 50th year of teaching at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, she was awarded an honorary doctorate. In 1946, Dr. Clifford O.T. Wieden hired Miss Gentile to teach at the then Aroostook State Normal School, and build its Health, Physical Education and Recreation Program – HPER. Through her extraordinary long range planning abilities and her 54 years as a classroom teacher, she created a physical education program that has served the county, the state and the regions beyond. Throughout the years, the program has gained a reputation for excellence around New England. Her concern for the health of her profession led her to serve in leadership capacities around the state. She was president of the Maine District in HPER; president of Maine Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; a member of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on HPER; a member of state HPER Curriculum Committee; the American Association of HPER Publications Director for Maine; a member of state and national boards on HPER; one of the organizers of Maine Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women; and served on the Sunday Telegram’s 22 member panel asked to select and rank the top 20 events of the century. While dedicated to her discipline, Miss Gentile also contributed immensely to the creation of a strong and thriving university through her many leadership roles on campus and service on numerous committees. She served as chair of the Division of Health, Physical Education and Recreation for 20 years. She twice was president of the University Senate, twice president of AFUM, the faculty union, and was one of its founding members. For more than 50 years, she orchestrated commencement every year, paying strict attention to protocol and tradition. She taught thousands of students, served on hundreds of committees, and influenced many a faculty member. But her work extended beyond the campus community. She was a member of National Federation of Business and Professional Women since 1947, having served as its local president, the Maine State Federation president, and chairing virtually all of its committees. She was a gubernatorial appointee to the Maine Commission for Women. She also belonged to American Association of University Women and Delta Kappa Gamma, serving as its first vice president. She was director of Presque Isle Recreation and Parks Advisory Board and helped with Aroostook County Historical Society and Displaced Homemakers. Her service has not gone unnoticed. In March 2000, she was inducted into the Eleventh Maine Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2003, she was inducted into the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honors. In November 2006, MAHPERD honored Miss Gentile with its top distinction: the Highest Praise Award. During the presentation, the master of ceremonies asked those present to stand up if they had Ms. Gentile for a teacher. Half the room of a crowded Samoset banquet area rose to their feet and Miss Gentile was selected as one of 12 women to be included in the Celebrating Women of Aroostook Calendar. Even after her retirement, Miss Gentile continued to contribute to the vitality of the physical education program and to the health of the community by her generous gift of $500,000 to help build a new wellness center. The building, which bears her name, will forever stand as a testament to her undying devotion to the University of Maine at Presque Isle and its community. When thinking of Miss Gentile, people may remember those intercessions, her tutu, the ballroom dancing and those sneakers. However, they will never forget her demand for excellence in the classroom and service to students above all else. Caroline was predeceased by her parents, Gerardo and Donata Buchelli Gentile; brothers, Joseph Gentile, Daniel Gentile, Anthony Gentile and Alfred; sisters, Laura Mazzola, Lucy Scrapper and Florence Gentile; and nephew, Peter Cedrone. Surviving are her sister, Anna Gentile Cedrone; nephews, Domenic Cedrone, Lawrence Cedrone, Gerard Cedrone, Stephen Cedrone, Vincent Cedrone and John Cedrone; nieces, Florence Cedrone Jones, Carol Cedrone Pina and Christine Cedrone; a number of great-nieces and great-nephews. She leaves behind her very special friends, Marie Ouellette, Fred Getchell, Kathy Hersey, Barbara Motes, Nan Amodeo; and little kitten, Susie. There will be a memorial service noon-2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, in Gentile Hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Caroline Gentile Scholarship Fund, care of Foundation of the University at Presque Isle, 181 Main St., Presque Isle, ME 04769. Arrangements are in the care of Duncan-Graves Funeral Home. Condolences may be expressed at www.duncan-graves.com.
CAROLINE D. GENTILE
Posted Sept. 23, 2008, at 11:03 p.m.