John Cakouros

CAKOUROS, John, 89, Brunswick, at Bath, September 5, 2014. Visiting hours will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, September 12, at the Funeral Home. A funeral Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Bath Middle School. Arrangements by Daigle Funeral Home, Bath.

John Cakouros

American Flag ColorPO-JohnCakourosOBBRUNSWICK – John Cakouros, 89, died at Winship Green Nursing Home in Bath, Sept. 5, 2014. He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., March 12, 1925, the son of Cleomenes and Kay Cakouros.
    He attended Brooklyn schools including Boys High School. It was 1943 in the midst of World War II but the draft board permitted him to graduate before inducting him into the Army.
    Cakouros underwent basic training in the deserts of Arizona and California and then was sent to France where he went in on D-Day plus 30 (days). He fought across France until Alsace-Lorraine where he volunteered to go ahead of the lines on a scouting party. When the Germans sighted the party from a church tower and called down fire on them. Several, including Cakouros, were wounded, but he could only crawl. After hiding in the grass until dark, he insisted the others go back to the American lines and get help. When the Germans sent out a search party, Cakouros crawled into a ditch full of water holding a hand grenade ready to pull the pin. They walked right over him, stepping on his hand and never knowing he was there. He managed to get under cover until his fellow soldiers came to get him. He spent 11 months in hospitals in England and the U.S. before getting out to walk on crutches for months. He received a Bronze Star (for earlier action) and a Purple Heart.
    Cakouros used the GI Bill to attend Farleigh-Dickinson College and then worked in the Stockyard Inn in Lancaster, PA. There, he met his future wife, Jeanette Kinney. Eleven months later, the bartender and the waitress went to her home in Dover-Foxcroft, ME, to be married in the United Baptist Church on April 25, 1954. They were married 60-plus years.
    The couple went to Washington D.C. where he studied Business Administration. (He had surprised his wife by enrolling in George Washington University). One morning, the Washington Post reported a school shooting, unheard of in those days. A boy in a Maryland suburb had shot his teacher. Cakouros said “I think I can help boys like that” and went directly to GW and changed his major to Education. He never looked back.
    The couple went to live in Bath, ME, taking with them to live a nephew and two nieces. They also adopted two baby boys. He taught at Bath Junior High School for 25 years, first math in the eighth grade and then English in ninth grade. During that time, they moved to North Woolwich where they lived in a large old farmhouse by the Kennebec for 42 years and five months. Not wishing the land to be developed, they later sold the 74 acres and farmhouse on Thwing’s Point to the Nature Conservancy.
    “Teaching is a passion which should be instilled in the children” Cakouros said. While teaching, Cakouros coached cross country and track for both girls and boys. He instituted the Bath Junior School Invitational which is still held. After he retired, the school board cut cross country from the budget. His belief in the worthiness of the sport caused him to raise money (sitting outside Shaw’s collecting cash) and hire a coach to continue it. The sport was reinstated the next year. Morse High School established the John Cakouros Cross Country Award presented to the outstanding cross country member each year.
    Cakouros reluctantly retired early from teaching and went to work at the Bath Post Office in order to finance his children’s education. (His wife was a stay-at-home-mother.) After eleven years, he retired again, and substituted in schools from Dresden to Freeport, from kindergarten to 12th grade, eventually narrowing down to Brunswick High School only. He taught whatever was needed from band to home economics or history to physics, or anything else. He would have taught until he died, his wife says, but he had a stroke at the age of 80.
    During those years, he raised money (again sitting outside Shaw’s) to send high school students to academic and sports summer camps. The money he raised was matched by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled Veterans of America, the Elks Club and the American Legion. The lives of many of the students were changed by this experience. He always carried a supply of Eisenhower silver dollars which he presented to children of all ages encouraging them to study and achieve in school.
    When he realized that children attending Bath Junior High School didn’t know about the five pupils from their school who were killed in Vietnam, he again partnered with the veteran’s organizations to raise funds for a plaque with their names. He invited their families from all over the United States for the ceremony.
    He was a trustee of the Patten Free Library, a member of the library corporators and served on the boards of the YMCA and Elmhurst. He was also active in the then Bath United Church of Christ, Congregational, Congress Street.
    Cakouros served his community of Woolwich as well. He was elected to the school board for 12 years with at least three years of that as chairman and also served on two school building committees. He was Woolwich Health Officer for over 30 years, a position he used as an opportunity to get children out of substandard living conditions.
    He was predeceased by his parents; two sisters, Helen Vlassis, Ellenville, NY, and Mary Cakouros, Avon, CT a sister-in-law, Eleanor Cakouros, Avon, CT; a brother-in-law, Herbert Flowers, Harrisville, RI; and a very special nephew, Andrew C. Kinney of Windham.
    Survivors include his wife, Jeanette K. Cakouros, Brunswick; his brother, Steve Cakouros, Avon, CT; two sons, Craig Cakouros, wife, Michelle and son, Garen, Limerick and Jason Cakouros, wife, Eileen and their two children, Anna and Drew, Milton, MA; as well as two special nieces, Leslie Kinney Jandreau, Keswick, Ontario, and companion, Andre Dupuis, and Dawn Kinney Garrott and husband, Riley, Marysville, OH; and Cheryl Kinney, widow of Andrew Kinney, Windham; nephew, Sgt. Michael Kinney and his wife, Jennifer, Bath; nephew, Adam Kinney of Windham; and nephew, Reed Kinney and his wife, Jennifer, Topsham; niece, Randa Rineer and her husband, Mark, Brunswick; niece, Kathy Spackman and husband, Jeff, Castle Rock, CO; niece, Tracy Cakouros and husband, Brian Hillfrank, Avon, CT.
    Visiting hours will be held from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, September 12, 2014, at Daigle Funeral Home, 819 High St., Bath. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Bath Middle School, Old Brunswick Road, Bath. Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery in Woolwich. Memorial donations may be sent to CHANS, Baribeau Drive, Brunswick; Winship Green, Bath; Curtis Library, Brunswick; or Patten Free Library, Bath. Condolences may be made online at

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