Michael J. Eastman, 69: Dedicated life's work to So. Portland youth, community

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Michael John “Mike” Eastman, beloved husband of Linda Silver Eastman and loving and proud father of Chad Eastman and Allyn “Lynne” Eastman Joys, died Sept. 14 from a heart attack while exercising at a local gym.

Born Oct. 6, 1939, to John and Margaret Eastman, he was raised by his aunt Marion Eastman Strout in the Ferry Village area of South Portland. He attended local schools where he enjoyed participating in sports.

In 1963 he graduated from Gorham State Teacher’s College. Upon graduating, he began his teaching career in Scarborough. In 1965 he received his master’s degree and met his future wife, Linda.

They married in 1966 and relocated to Sanford, where he taught in the middle school.

In 1967 he began his 32-year career working with South Portland youth. For 10 years he served as principal of Lincoln School. In 1977, he became assistant principal and athletic director at Memorial Middle School, where he remained for 22 years until his retirement in 1999. During his career, he served on various committees and boards, including a term as president of the South Portland Teacher’s Association.

On nights and weekends, he was an intermittent inspector with the Immigration Naturalization Service. He loved the challenge of the job, traveling by boat to the outer harbor to board a foreign ship for inspection before docking.

After 9/11, he worked full-time for INS and would take assignments to isolated posts. In 2004 he retired from the INS and began working for the Maine Judicial System as a Court Officer, a position he held until his death.

Supporting his community was very important to him, and he served as a volunteer fireman at Engine 1 and Engine 3 in his earlier years. For 30 years, he was a member of the South Portland Lion’s Club, and served as president from 1995-1996 and received the highest Lions award, the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award. He also served on the South Portland Planning Board, School Board, and the South Portland Historical Society board.

He had numerous joys in his personal life, and was an avid organic gardener, a reader and seeker of information and enjoyed watching sports, especially the Boston Red Sox. Proud of his Irish heritage, he would blast Irish music from his truck while driving alone.

To his family he was gentle, loving and patient; as a friend and neighbor, he was warm, dependable, and ready to lend a hand; and as an educator, he was professional and moral. He respected and valued every child with whom he had contact and always found a good trait or quality to draw upon.

Surviving are his wife Linda; son Chad Eastman and daughter-in-law Olivia Grinnell Eastman; daughter Allyn “Lynne” Eastman Joys and son-in-law James Joys; grandsons Michael and Robby Joys, granddaughters Hayley, Zoe and Ashley Eastman; step-brother John Gauthier; half-sisters, Rosemary Holleman, Donna Lavoie, Carol Smith and Marilyn Bourbeau; an uncle, Ed Daley; cousins; and nieces and nephews.

There will be a celebration of life at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27 at the South Portland High School auditorium, 637 Highland Ave., South Portland.

Memorial donations can be made to the Michael J. Eastman Scholarship Fund, c/o Principal Jeanne Crocker, South Portland High School, 637 Highland Ave., South Portland, ME, 04106 or to The South Portland Historical Society, 55 Bug Light Park, South Portland, ME, 04106.

Arrangements are by Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland.

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