Clarence Pinette, a former chemistry teacher at Cape Elizabeth High School whose passion for education inspired his students, died Dec. 21. He was 92.

Mr. Pinette began his career at Limestone High School as a chemistry and physics teacher. He taught there for 11 years before accepting a position at Cape Elizabeth High School as a chemistry teacher and head of its science department. He taught at Cape for about 20 years before retiring in 1989.

Mr. Pinette, known by many as “Clancy,” was remembered Thursday as a dedicated teacher who had a soft spot for the underdog.

His son, Dr. Michael Pinette of Cape Elizabeth, said he had a special fondness for students who struggled with science.

“He would go the extra mile for them,” his son said. “If students had other issues, his door was always open. It seemed like he was happiest when he could make his students smile and feel good about themselves.”

For Mr. Pinette, family was everything. He was a loving husband to Greta Pinette for 67 years and a devoted father to their two sons.

His youngest, Michael Pinette, reminisced Thursday about time spent with his dad.

“He was a fabulous father,” Michael Pinette said. “He spent a lot of time with us – whether it was playing in the backyard or taking us to the beach. Every weekend, especially during the winter, we would go to a beach for a walk. It was a time to talk and discuss what was going on in our lives and get some advice from him. It was great.”

Mr. Pinette was remembered as friendly, personable and engaging. He could easily strike up a conversation with anyone.

In the mid-1960s, he took a summer job working nights and weekends at Shaw’s supermarkets. He was a frontline manager for several years at stores throughout the state, including its Mill Creek and Northgate locations.

“He was one of the most personable people you could imagine,” his son said. “He loved being around people. That’s why he loved working at Shaw’s.”

In 1989, Mr. Pinette and his wife retired to Ocala, Florida. They had a close network of friends and he enjoyed swimming and playing golf.

The couple took trips and cruises to the Caribbean and Europe, and babysat their grandchildren and attended their activities.

“They have been blessed by a long retirement,” his son said. “They had a fabulous life together. They were best friends.”

Mr. Pinette was active and sharp right until the end of his life. He had some health issues, but nothing could really keep him down, his son said.

“I visited him a week and a half before he died,” his son said. “He was sharp as a whip. He carried on a conversation with me. I remember he told me once: ‘I wake up in the morning and pinch myself. If it hurts, I know I’m still alive. I read the newspaper and if I can understand, I know my mind is intact. I know it’s going to be a good day.’ He had a good attitude about life.”

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

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