Peter Brawn, a beloved former teacher at Cape Elizabeth Middle School known for unique classes such as Eskimo culture and sharing his passion for the outdoors with students, died June 15 while jogging along Worthley Pond in Peru. He was 74.

Brawn was also a well-known lobsterman and registered Maine guide, who led hundreds of students and adults on trips along rivers in Aroostook County.

He was remembered by family and friends last week as a positive, outgoing and adventurous man who loved life and lived it to its fullest.

Brawn taught middle school for 25 years, including two decades in Cape Elizabeth. He retired from teaching in 1990.

By all accounts, Brawn wasn’t the type of teacher who followed a lesson plan. He was described as the kind of teacher who brought kids into the marsh and woods in Cape Elizabeth and gave lessons on flora and tree identification. He taught a popular class about Eskimo culture and led many hands-on activities.

Roland Moore, a friend and former colleague at Cape Elizabeth Middle School, said Brawn loved taking the students outside to teach them about nature.

Moore, who taught alongside Brawn, remembered the year students attempted to build an igloo. He laughed while recalling the summer he and Brawn removed a dead seal from a beach and brought it back to the school gymnasium. Brawn then gave students a lesson on skinning a seal.

“You can imagine the outcry. We just wanted to show the kids the technique the Eskimos used,” Moore said. “He really brought out the best in the students.”

From 1971 to 1996, Brawn and Moore operated a guide service, Canoe Trails. The pair led hundreds of students and adults on trips along the Allagash and St. John rivers.

Family and friends shared many funny stories about their experiences.

Moore recalled one rainy trip to the Allagash River. He said Brawn found a piece of iron with a hole in it.

He used it to build a fire, then set the iron in the fire to heat up. Once it was hot, he dragged the iron inside the tent and poured water on it to create a sauna. Moore cracked up, saying the kids loved it.

One of those kids was Ted Foden, a former student who joined many canoe trips and was later hired as a youth counselor. Foden said they did five to six trips a summer and had a blast.

“I was a rambunctious kid,” Foden said. “He really had a good way with me. He had a good way with kids.”

Foden said Brawn became a father figure to him and many others.

“Every year, we would get together to fish, hunt and play golf … to yuk it up,” he said. “He became a true friend. He was very upbeat and positive and always looking for the next adventure.”

Brawn’s foundation was family. He was married to Patricia Brawn for nearly 52 years. The couple lived in Cape Elizabeth and raised two children. His wife said Friday that there was never a dull moment in their house.

“I loved him with all my heart,” she said.

Brawn was a lobsterman for more than 40 years. In his early years, he fished 400 to 500 traps.

In the past few years, he fished less than that. Most recently, he lobstered out of the Spurwink River in Cape Elizabeth.

“I was his sternman,” said Paul Brawn, his older brother. “It was hard work, but we had a great time. If I needed anything, he was there. If he needed anything, I was there. We never had a fight in our whole life – ever.”

In addition to teaching and lobstering, Brawn was the assistant girls’ soccer coach for Cape from 1983 to 1996 and the varsity softball coach for more than 10 years. He also officiated soccer, basketball and softball for many years.

His daughter, Kristin “Togue” Brawn of Bath, said her father was her idol. She shared stories Friday of his love of family and the community. She said he found the fun in everything.

“He lived goodness,” she said. “He set the example of making the best out of every situation. My father taught me, sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you. There’s no dwelling on things you can’t change. You’ve got to enjoy your life the best you can, because you never know.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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